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