Reality yet to sink in for Yasi victims

People across north Queensland are returning to homes destroyed by Cyclone Yasi, but for many the reality of their loss is yet to sink in.

El-Arish residents Bill and Lee Guthrie bunkered down with friends during the category five storm, expecting their newly renovated home would withstand Yasi's fury.

They returned on Thursday to find the roof destroyed and most of their belongings, including treasured photos, ruined.

"Yesterday I was just numb, I didn't care," Mrs Guthrie told AAP on Friday from the town, which neighbours Mission Beach where Yasi made landfall about midnight on Wednesday.

"I woke up this morning and realised 'Oh I'm homeless' I will probably have a breakdown tonight."

Tully residents Tony and Yvonne Palmer and their four young children sheltered with relatives as Yasi smashed the town, also near Mission Beach, but were unprepared for the devastation that awaited them when they returned home.

"I could see the place as I was driving up the street. I don't know how I made it from the corner to here because I was just hysterical," Mrs Palmer told AAP.

"You go through a thing where one minute you are okay and the next you just start crying."

The roof was torn off the house and the constant rainfall which has followed in the cyclone's wake has left little to salvage.

"Everything is just gone, all we have left in the world is two garbage bags full of stuff and the two single mattresses we took to lie on during the storm."

The couple has insurance but so far they've been unable to get advice from their provider about what to do next.

Another concern is the catastrophic damage to the region's banana industry which will leave the family without an income.

The Palmers both work on a plantation.

"They are going to have to lay everyone off, we're not going to have any jobs," Mr Palmer told AAP.


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