Mighty Marcus Leaves Devastation – Latest Update
UPDATE 3.30PM MONDAY 19-03: MANY schools in the Darwin, Palmerston and Rural area will be reopen tomorrow as water restrictions have been lifted and NT Government has deemed them safe for staff and students.
Due to continued power disruption and in the interests of public safety the following schools will remain closed
■ Alawa Primary School
■ Adelaide River School
■ Batchelor Area School
■ Bees Creek Primary School
■ Belyuen School
■ Berry Springs Primary School
■ Darwin Languages School
■ Ludmilla Primary School
■ Middle Point School
■ Moil Primary School
■ Nemarluk School
■ Parap Primary School
■ Stuart Park Primary School
■ Taminmin College
■ Wagaman Primary School
■ Larrakeyah Preschool
■ Nakara Preschool
■ Driver Preschool
Please note: Larrakeyah, Nakara and Driver Primary Schools will be open unless otherwise stated.
UPDATE 10.30AM MONDAY: THE water boil alert has been lifted, while Territorians continue to clean up the mess from Cyclone Marcus.
Power and Water Corporation advised the Health Department the results of sampling showed the water supply to be free of bacterial contamination and water was safe to drink.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said this did not include the community of Belyuen where testing was still ongoing.
More than 14,000 homes are still without power. 15,301 have had the power turned back on.
A PowerWater Corp spokeswoman said crews were working to isolate service connections to houses and businesses.
“These will require property owners to obtain Certificates of Compliance from a qualified electrician for reconnection,” the spokeswoman said.
“We have six electrical linesmen from Katherine in Darwin and four from Alice Springs. They are dispersed with the Darwin and Greater Region crews.
“Many thanks to the public for their patience and kind messages of support.”
Limited bus services will resume at 12pm Monday including the Orbital services from Palmerston, Darwin and Casuarina Interchanges; Route 1H to the Royal Darwin Hospital; Route 4 in Nightcliff and Route 14 in Cullen Bay and the Darwin Waterfront.
The MVR on Goyder Rd remains closed.
EARLIER: TERRITORY school kids will miss classes, public servants have been told to stay home and tens of thousands of people are still without power following the destruction of Cyclone Marcus.
Many of the streets in the Greater Darwin area are still blocked by fallen trees and debris and 18,480 homes are without power as crews struggle to keep up with demand.
NT Emergency Services chief officer Jason Collins asked people helping in today’s clean-up to wear proper footwear and protective equipment.
“We don’t want a second disaster with people hurting themselves in the yard,” he said. “Please, when you’re going out and helping other people — check the powerlines.
“If there are powerlines, do not approach and do not engage — we cannot guarantee they will be safe as is, most will be, but we cannot guarantee.”
For those without electricity, Mr Collins recommended people ate what was in their fridges first, before eating what was in their freezer, then their dry goods.
Yesterday, there were 500 outstanding tasks for NT Emergency Services to attend.
Mr Collins said schools took priority in the clean-up to help people get back to their normal routines as quickly as possible.
“Homes are important, but if you’ve got your cyclone kit and 72 hours of food and water, you should be able to sustain yourselves — schools are a precautionary measure,” he said.
Waste management facilities were struggling to cope with the volume of trees and branches being left at their sites since Cyclone Marcus passed over the Greater Darwin area on Saturday.
People with green waste were being asked to bundle branches and leave them on their verge for collection.
“The lack of electricity has had an impact on traffic lights,” Regional Controller Warren Jackson said.
“We only have about half of them working across the region. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that someone has stolen one of the generators being used to power traffic lights.”
Batchelor and Adelaide River were also affected by the power outages.
“It may take some time to restore electricity to nearly 26,000 homes affected because of the damage caused by the destructive Category 2 winds,” he said.
Cyclone Marcus also damaged pipes, prompting the Department of Health to issue a boil-water alert.
Yesterday, Chief Minister Michael Gunner urged schools and businesses in Palmerston and Darwin to keep their doors closed, as Power and Water battled to return services.
Mr Gunner was unsure what the clean-up bill would be, but labelled the widespread damage a “wake-up call”.
“The priority for now is just doing it; we’ll assess the cost later,” he said.
Responding to questions about where he was on Saturday, the Chief Minister said he prepared and sheltered.
“Then I was briefed on what the outcome was and decisions that needed to be made around the environment,” he said.
“It’s really important that we have a single line of communication — a very clear voice when it comes to emergency situations.”
Mr Gunner said for a lot of Top Enders, it had been a while since winds as powerful as those which came with Cyclone Marcus had impacted the area.
“A lot of people got a bit complacent about what a Cat 2 is and what damage that makes,” he said.
Mr Gunner said only 130 people took shelter — which indicated most people felt safe in their homes.
“We haven’t had an injury report yet from the cyclone … which feels too good to be true,” he said.
Mr Gunner would support ripping out the African mahogany trees in Darwin City.
“After the last weather event, I asked for advice from my department about what we would need to do to have a program to remove mahoganies,” he said.
“I think the event over the weekend shows it’s the essential path to follow.”
However, Mr Gunner stopped short at offering Darwin City Council financial aid to replace the potentially dangerous trees.
NT Police Acting Commissioner Grant Nicholls said the response would take time.
He said there were no more reports of break-ins or looting “than usual”.
Commissioner Nicholls said police would start directing traffic if and when they were free to do so.
Meanwhile, a fallen tree damaged several gravestones at Darwin General Cemetery on McMillans Rd.
Sarah Francis, who was visiting Darwin from Melbourne noticed numerous memorials had been “smashed”.
“I would say there’s about 10 to 20 by that tree … one of them has the full weight of the tree sitting on it,” she said.
“A couple of people were there, putting flowers back and things like that. It must be devastating for families.”