NEWS

The Precious Cargo

Stick in one hand, precious cargo in a rubbish bin in the other and a wife following closely behind, a father tells of how he got his family to safety.
24 Feb 2016 13:09
The Precious Cargo
Kalusi Koliyavu, and his family, Alesi Nakautoga and one year three months old baby Lavenia Adilawanakali at their home at Fastasy Road, Wailoaloa, Nadi yesterday. Photo: LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI

Stick in one hand, precious cargo in a rubbish bin in the other and a wife following closely behind, a father tells of how he got his family to safety.

Kalusi Koliyavu, of Nadi, remembers vividly that fateful event when Cyclone Winston was pounding hard as he and his family crossed a flooded creek.

The 24-year-old had only one thing on his mind.

It was to get his wife and one-year-and-three-month-old daughter who was tucked safely in a rubbish bin to the nearest possible shelter.

The bin was to protect little Lavenia Adilawanakali from the water, cold and flying debris.

They fled the devastation of flash flooding near Fantasy Island in the midst of Mother Nature’s fury.

Mr Koliyavu originally from Lawaki village, Tailevu, and his wife Alesi  Nakautoga, 24, of Navala in Ba covered their daughter with a blanket.

They then carefully placed her inside the bin to swim across the creek in front of their home.

Their last image of their house was of the extension flat being blown away.

“The house was shaking and we could feel the roof of the house was going to go off anytime,” Mr Koliyavu.

“I held a stick in one hand for protection since the debris was flying everywhere.

“My daughter was in the other hand and my wife was holding me from the back.

“I knew I had to have courage in this kind of situation; if not we were all going to end up in a messy situation.

“The wind was so strong but I was more determined to see both my girls to safety.

“Once we knew we were safe, we took my daughter out of the rubbish bin and took the blanket off.

“She looked relaxed and was not crying although she was soaking wet.”

Once at the neighbour’s house they asked for help and were given time to call for further help.

“One of our neighbours who had a car later drove us to Mt St Mary’s School which was one of evacuation centres near our home.”

Although the family reached safety with only the clothes on their back and a few of their daughter’s things they managed to salvage, they were grateful to be alive.

 

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  litia.tikomailepanoni@fijisun.com.fj

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