NEWS

‘Judgement Day’

Saturday, February 20, 2016, was described as ‘Judgement Day’ by two village headmen of Vanuabalavu in Lau. It was the day Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston wreaked havoc on the island.
26 Feb 2016 11:22
‘Judgement Day’
Some children of Boitaci Village in Vanuabalavu stand among the ruins of houses wrecked by Cyclone Winston. Photo: Litia Cava

Saturday, February 20, 2016, was described as ‘Judgement Day’ by two village headmen of Vanuabalavu in Lau.

It was the day Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston wreaked havoc on the island.

Yesterday, an assessment team from Vodafone Fiji visited the island for an hour.

It was also an opportunity for villagers to share endless stories of terrifying experiences they went through that day. A day they will not forget.

The fury of the cyclone brought tidal waves which swept through the village of Lomaloma.

The waves claimed everything in their paths.

Lomaloma is also the Government station of the island. It includes Adi Maopa Primary and Secondary schools, Lomaloma Hospital and staff quarters for doctors and nurses, the Vanuabalavu Police Station and Lomaloma Post Office.

Lomaloma Village headman Waisea Titoko said: “It felt like the last night of our lives on this planet.

“Echoes of cries of everyone – young and old filled the village. It was the most horrifying night,”he said.

Mr Titoko was in tears while describing what they went through.

“Despite the loss of all materialistic stuff, I am thankful to the Almighty God that no one from Lomaloma Village died. Reports indicated that deaths were reported in other villages and this is so heartbreaking.

“The cyclone attack went on for hours and villagers had to run from one house to another seeking shelter and some even used their washroom as a means of taking shelter.”

He said the 180 students of Adi Maopa Secondary School might have to remain at home for months because school buildings were destroyed.

TC Winston survivor and Adi Maopa Secondary School teacher, Shamal Karan said: “I feel so blessed and I now know how important it is to value life.

“Lomaloma is one of the most beautiful islands in Fiji and this year is my first year to be posted to the school. I loved everything on the island.”

Through the assistance of a team from Vodafone Fiji, Mr Karan was able to inform his family in Suva yesterday that he was alive and safe.

Today, families in Lomaloma are living in groups.

About 50 houses on the village were destroyed – nothing but shambles of their homes remain.

 

Feedback:  litia.cava@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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