‘ Rosco’ spent the night in a cup­board as Yasi howled Cy­clone shel­ter de­nied

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Heather O’Neill

A SIXTY-two-year-old recluse who was re­fused shel­ter at an aged care fa­cil­ity near Ing­ham on the night of Cy­clone Yasi was forced to sit out the cat­e­gory f i ve storm i n a cup­board while his house dis­in­te­grated around him.

Ge­of­frey Ross Wain, more com­monly known as ‘‘ Rosco’’, turned up at Canossa Home west of Ing­ham, with cloth­ing, food, wa­ter and bed­ding be­liev­ing a doc­tor had told them he was com­ing.

How­ever, the dis­abil­ity pen­sioner, who was in­jured 20 years ago in a car ac­ci­dent, was told the fa­cil­ity was not an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre and that he would have to go to the des­ig­nated shel­ter at the Ing­ham Show­grounds.

Rosco claims he was again re­fused ac­cess be­cause it was only open to self-evac­uees from the Her­bert re­gion’s sea­side com­mu­ni­ties.

Canossa Home has de­nied Rosco’s story and the fur­ther claim that an­other lo­cal man who needed a power source for his oxy­gen tank was ad­mit­ted on the same evening.

Rosco said he ac­cepted the doc­tor’s sug­ges­tion to go to Canossa be­cause he was con­cerned his house would not stand up to the ex­treme wind.

‘‘ I de­cided that if I could find some­where to go I would. So I put bits and pieces and a sleep­ing bag to­gether with a bit of tucker, had a bit of a tub to make my­self pre­sentable and came into Canossa,’’ he said.

‘‘ I saw this lady who was pos­si­bly in charge and she said ‘ no we can’t put evac­uees in here’, so I rang the coun­cil from the phone booth and who­ever an­swered it . . . said the evac­u­a­tion cen­tre in town

TOUGH CALL: Rosco Wain was re­fused shel­ter at Canossa Home dur­ing the cy­clone was only for peo­ple from the tidal surge ar­eas that night. So hav­ing run out of op­tions, I went back home.’’

A vet­eran of six cy­clones, Rosco said he fol­lowed his shel­ter plan un­til he was left with only one choice.

‘‘ I more or less took it on the ad­vice that we were given . . . to go to the strong­est room in the house which in my sit­u­a­tion would have been the bath­room,’’ he said.

‘‘ I stayed in the bed­room un­til it got up to a rea­son­able howl and then I dragged all the sleep­ing bags and soft stuff I could find and went into the bath­room and got into the side of the shower cu­bi­cle and lay there un­til the wall be­side me cracked and when that went I sort of got a lit­tle bit wor­ried.

‘‘ I knew that I had a cubby hole in the bot­tom of the pantry so I dragged what I could in there and sort of squir­relled my way in and hid in there for five or six hours.’’

C a n o s s a S e r v i c e s C E O Robyn Kent said she was not aware of all the ‘‘ nitty gritty of the is­sues’’ but she was aware of what had hap­pened.

Ms Kent said the man­ager on duty at Canossa on the night of cy­clone de­nied re­ceiv­ing a call from the doc­tor and said that when Rosco ar­rived he asked if he could stay at the evac­u­a­tion cen­tre, which Canossa was not.

She said Rosco was told where the evac­u­a­tion cen­tre was in Ing­ham and what he needed to take with him ‘‘ and we never heard back’’.

In re­sponse to the sec­ond man who was ad­mit­ted at Canossa, Ms Kent said he ‘‘ was pro­vided with a health ser­vice, dif­fer­ent story to s o me o n e l o o k i n g f o r a n evac­u­a­tion cen­tre’’.

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