Job security a concern for Airlie Beach locals
Ms Muller’s story is just one of many that came from the Jubilee Pocket evacuation centre, operating out of the Whitsunday PCYC.
For 13-year-old Cody Petterson it wasn’t about the fear of a category 4 cyclone, it was about what happens afterwards. He has spent the past few days helping out at Whitsunday PCYC evacuation centre wherever he can.
“The cyclone was hectic. Most of the street is just gone, trees everywhere, dogs running around,” he said.
“I told dad (Councillor Ron Petterson) I’m happy to come down to the PCYC and help out. When I came down here everything was falling apart.
“I’ve been through five cyclones.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t have homes and don’t have a place to stay and don’t know where to go, so they can come here.
“I just wanted to help.” Whitsunday PCYC branch manager Sergeant John Dickinson said he hadn’t really slept in five days and had been spending all of his waking hours helping people at the centre.
“I was at home bunkered down in Jubilee Pocket on top of Wildlife Rd, when the cyclone hit. It was full on,” he said.
“I came here (to the PCYC) the first opportunity I got. It’s about providing the essentials like food and water.
“I’ve been through four cyclones here and that was the worst one.”
The evacuation centres at Bowen, Proserpine and Airlie Beach are now closed with residents asked to visit community hubs for assistance. Hubs have been set up at Cannonvale State School, Proserpine High School and Bowen TAFE. ALEXANDRA Hansen is a shining example of why tourists shouldn’t write off Airlie Beach.
Ms Hansen and her friend Reuben Vindergeest have already made the tough decision to leave the Whitsundays due to concern over their tourism industry jobs.
Meanwhile their friend and colleague Ariana Tetai has gone to stay with family in Proserpine after the house she was renting in Airlie Beach was destroyed by Cyclone Debbie.
“We’re all wondering, how long is the waiting game before life resumes to normal,” Ms Hansen said.
“Ari has got family here so she can wait around, but for myself and Rueben, we can’t really just sit and twiddle our thumbs in the dark with no power.”
Ms Tetai said her rented house on Ocean View Avenue in Airlie Beach simply wasn’t habitable any more after parts of the roof were lost and windows broken.
“The carpet’s just saturated with water, the whole place is dripping,” she said.
But the three friends were in remarkably good spirits despite their ordeal.
“I don’t want to complain too much because some people live like this in some parts of the world,” Ms Hansen said.
“So it’s definitely an experience and it makes you appreciate what we do have.
“We’ve been discussing the families here with kids they’ve been doing it really hard.
“At least we’ve only got ourselves to worry about.”
HIT HARD: Ruth Muller has lost her home in Cyclone Debbie and doesn’t know what she’s going to do.
DISPLACED: Ariana Tetai, Reuben Vindergeest and Alexandra Hansen outside Ariana’s uninhabitable Airlie Beach home.