The stories from inside a Whitsunday evacuation shelter
CYCLONE Debbie was not Ruth Muller's first cyclone, but it was her worst as she has been left homeless after her boat tore away from its mooring at Shute Harbour and crashed into some rocks.
"I got off my boat on Sunday. My boat was till there Monday afternoon. I could see it from the top of Shute Harbour. Then on Tuesday it was gone. It pulled off its mooring and ended up on the rocks near the houses on the point of Shute Harbour with two other boats," she said.
Ms Muller lives alone on her 36ft steel boden, Safari 5, which has been her home for the past six years and she says she now doesn't know what she's going to do now.
"It broke its mast. I can't get down there to have a look. I can get down the bank but I cant get up the bank. I can see it but I can't get to it," she said.
"I've also got two cats on board. Yesterday one was still there but I can't see the other one."
After leaving the boat on Sunday and taking what she could, a man offered to fetch her purse on Thursday and confirmed he had seen one of the cats.
"I have no idea (what I'm going to do now) I've shed a few tears. It's in the lap of the gods now."
Local boat owners even thought Ms Muller might have died in the cyclone as they saw her dinghy on the back of the boat and thought she might have stayed on it during the cyclone.
"When I was looking yesterday, I saw man out there with a boat and they were all so concerned because they thought I was underneath the boat," she said.
"When one man saw me standing on the side out the road he stopped his car and ran over to me and said we're so pleased we thought you might have drowned."
Ms Muller's story is just one of many coming from the Jubilee Pocket evacuation centre that has opened at the Whitsunday PCYC.
Evacuation centres have now also been opened at Bowen and Proserpine with residents who have damaged homes being asked to seek refuge with family and friends before taking refuge at the centres.
- The Bowen evacuation centre is located at the previous cyclone shelter, at Bowen State High School on Richmond Road.
- The Proserpine evacuation centre is located at the previous cyclone shelter, at Proserpine State School (Primary) on Renwick Road.
The Department of Communities is also working on establishing Community Recovery Hubs throughout the region to provide support for residents as a one-stop-shop for information and advice, financial assistance, grants, referrals and counselling services.
For more information on Community Hubs, please contact the Department of Communities on 1800 173 349 or visit the website at www.qld.gov.au/communityrecovery.
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.
"You could feel the floor and the whole house vibrating and the windows bending in and out.
"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.
"We came out of it fairly reasonable but there's a lot of damage elsewhere and a lot of work to be done now."