Queenslanders returned to their homes today to begin counting the cost of Cyclone Yasi after it smashed through the state's northeast coast, flattening crops in Australia's main banana and sugar cane growing region.
Banana crops in the region may be only 15% of their normal level, which is expected to see national banana prices quickly skyrocket toward $15 per kilo, in a similar pattern to Cyclone Larry, another category five cyclone, that hit the region five years ago.
A huge area of the sugar cane crop was also completely flattened by the cyclone. It is estimated more than $A500 million of cane could be lost.
Australia is the world's third-largest sugar exporter, after Brazil and Thailand.
The storm had forced tens of thousands of residents to seek safety away from its path, with the Queensland police confirming only one death so far . Others remain missing although Queensland Emergency Services Minister said the damage doesn't appear to be "as bad as had been feared."
The fallout will continue however. Rains from Yasi are due to hit the southern states over the weekend. Australia, particularly in the east, continues to struggle with a La Nina weather event responsible for Yasi and recent flooding in an area roughly the size of Germany and France in a devastating seasonal pattern that could persist for a few more months and possibly most of 2011.
More pictures of the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi are available on the link below: