Dunk and Bedarra staff claim they were not given option to leave before cyclone Yasi
Lost: A swimming pool at the Dunk Island resort lies buried under sand dumped by Cyclone Yasi. Picture: Brian Cassey Source: The Courier-Mail
DUNK and Bedarra islands copped the full force of cyclone Yasi, which left resort buildings ruined, swimming pools full of sand and lush gardens stripped bare. Furious staff say they were forced to stay.
The main restaurant is in tatters, guest accommodation is a wreck of smashed glass and twisted wood and doors and windows were sucked out.
More than 100 staff flown off the island to safety yesterday spoke of utter devastation and said the only buildings left
to speak of were in the staff village.
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Meanwhile, terrified staff waited for it all to be over – bunkered down four to a room with just a sandwich and an apple to get them through.
“They didn’t give us enough food for the two days we were in the rooms and we had no fresh water, said staff member Sara Greenlish. “We couldn’t shower or even flush the toilets.
“There were four of us in our room and we only had three sandwiches between us and a couple of apples. I am starving and can’t wait to get to civilisation.
“During the cyclone the doors pushed in and we all had to lean on a mattress up against the frame to stop the wind and water coming out.”
Ms Greenlish and other staff confirmed allegations they had not been given the option to evacuate before Yasi hit, despite claims from a Hideaway Resort spokesperson that they had.
“We had a meeting and got told the last of the guests had been evacuated and the rest of us were staying put,” she said. “Not once did anyone ask who wanted to go or tell us how we could leave.
“We were told there was no need to evacuate, that the island had been through this before and there was no need to panic.”
In a statement to The Weekend Post, Hideaway Resorts said preparations were undertaken in lined with standard cyclone procedures – which do not include provision for mass evacuation of staff.
“All remaining guests and staff scheduled to leave the island on Monday and Tuesday did so and at this time no staff had requested to leave,” the statement said.
“Early Wednesday the cyclone had increased to possible category 5. At this point, those remaining were committed to stay, with no safe option to leave the islands.”