University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Cyclone Yasi: The Experience of Queenslanders Without a Home

Thomas, Yvonne ORCID: (2015) Cyclone Yasi: The Experience of Queenslanders Without a Home. In: Disaster and Development: an Occupational Perspective. Elsevier B.V., Edinburgh, pp. 71-72. ISBN Print 978-0-7020-4047-4 Electronic 978-0-7020-6079-3

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Cyclone Yasi: The Experience of Queenslanders Without a Home

Chapter 9 in Nancy Rushford and Kerry Thomas (Eds) Disaster and Development: An Occupational Perspective pp 71-72
Published 2015 by Elsevier: Edinburgh.

This chapter outlines the experiences of homeless people in Townsville, Australia, immediately following Category 5 Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. It is presented as two collective narratives, highlighting and contrasting different experiences. Due to the size and strength of the cyclone Townsville was expected to experience a 6 metre storm surge which would flood low lying areas. Workplaces closed, people were told to stay with family and friends on higher ground and further west, and evacuation centres were slow to be identi-fied. The situation presented particular challenges for homeless people.
Jeff has lived on the streets for many years, and although he has family locally he decided to use the public evacuation centre.

[Jeff’s story has been omitted in this summary]

Jeff’s story demonstrates how by presenting at the council’s evacuation centre he was treated the same as everyone else and shared in a wider community expe¬rience. The cyclone provided a break from his life on the streets; it gave him an oppor¬tunity to chat to other people and get an insight into the anxiety of those who had homes.
In contrast the hostel that Tim had been staying the night before closed because the location was not safe. Tim and his friends were taken back to town with nowhere to go and were evacuated to a town car park.

[Tim’s story has been omitted in this summary]

Tim left the car park as soon as they could, even though it was wet and there was nowhere open to take shelter. The experience was unpleasant and reinforced a sense of marginalization.
Disaster management plans may fail to con¬sider the needs of those that live on the margins, such as homeless people who may be least able to prepare for themselves. Homeless people need assistance to plan what to do and to maintain some choice and control over where they go. Occupational therapists can advocate for the needs of the homeless and disadvantaged before the crisis occurs to ensure that the needs of these people are understood and accounted for.

Item Type: Book Section
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: homeless people, Australia, Cyclone Yasi, disaster management, occupational therapists
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Yvonne Thomas
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2016 10:35
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:09

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