News National ‘The house was rocking’, two days in a bathtub to survive Cyclone Debbie

‘The house was rocking’, two days in a bathtub to survive Cyclone Debbie

Helen Muller stands in the ruins of her double garage, built by her father, in Proserpine. Photo: AAP
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A Queensland woman cowered in her bathtub for two days fearing she would not survive the fury of Cyclone Debbie as it tore through her hometown.

Helen Muller, 59, told AAP she had not eaten since the cyclone struck Proserpine on Tuesday.

She has lived there her entire life.

“I just cannot eat,” she said. “The house was rocking. I thought ‘this is going to be it, there is not going to be me here anymore’.

“If that back door had broken off I would have gone with it.”

As she ducked for cover in the tub, all she had with her was her dog Poppa, a mattress and a bucket to use as a toilet.

The walls of her fibro house began to crack around her, as the extreme cyclonic winds swept through from the coast.

The cyclone destroyed Ms Muller’s two-door garage and the blinds were stripped from the windows. The iron roof was flung into her neighbours’ yards, while her car was written off.

Her lawn is now covered in the contents of her shed, including cupboards and a ride-on mower.

Ms Muller said she had to wait for the army to help with the clean-up because the shed contained asbestos.

Proserpine, located inland from Airlie Beach, is one of most affected areas as Cyclone Debbie unleashed 260km/h winds on the Whitsunday Coast.

Proserpine Motor Lodge owner Kerry Campbell said she could not help but laugh as she watched on from an adjoining home as the roof of her lodge was torn off most of the motel’s rooms, the restaurant and the storage shed.

“I mean, what else could we do?” she told AAP on Thursday.

“It just curled it over like a wave. I think most of Proserpine has most of my roof in their backyard. I’ve shared it all around, just in case anyone needed some tin.

“It’s just devastation everywhere.”

As floodwaters subside, emergency crews have begun to access the Proserpine and Airlie Beach to begin picking up the pieces.

A lack of power has meant most businesses have remained closed, but some supermarkets used generators to open on Thursday to allow customers to stock up on supplies.

– with AAP

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