Lucky To Be Alive

  Some families in the Western Division are counting themselves lucky to have survived the ordeal of the monster Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston. Their stories depict their strength and commitment
26 Feb 2016 10:30
Lucky To Be Alive
Amar Chand (left), with his family at Tuvu, Lautoka. Photo: Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.


Some families in the Western Division are counting themselves lucky to have survived the ordeal of the monster Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston.

Their stories depict their strength and commitment as families to encounter the challenges while trying to rebuild their lives.

Members of a family in Tuvu, Lautoka, are now living in a small shed after their two-bedroom house was destroyed by TC Winston.

Amar Chand, 53, and his family had recently moved to Tuvu from Tavua, hoping to start a new life.

Little did they know of the terror that awaited them.

Mr Chand couldn’t stop crying as he related the difficulties his family was currently facing.

“It has been only three months since we moved to Tuvu. I came here with my daughter, her husband and their two children. Me and my son-in-law worked as causal labourers on sugarcane farms here.  Through the little we saved, we managed to build a two-bedroom house. And now, we are left with nothing, the house has been completely destroyed. We also don’t have any water or electricity now.

“But, we are lucky to be alive and no one was hurt. On that night, we heard that a cyclone was coming and we prepared everything. We secured the house with ropes, closed all windows and doors and remained inside. We felt strong winds and heavy rain at around 6pm.

“By 7pm, the wind got stronger and we knew that we need to move and take shelter in our neighbour’s house.  So by 7.30pm, the weather worsened and the roof of our house was blown away. Later the whole house was blown away too. We have built this small shed using the roofing iron provided by the neighbours.

“We will not give up and we will try to build our home. We have faith that as far as we have our family together, we can survive the toughest battles of our lives,” Mr Chand said.


Winston fails to dampen family bond

Meanwhile, the bond among members of a Raviravi, Ba, family remained strong after the TC Winston.

The mother of the family, Vilimaina Marama was helping her husband and their three children in rebuilding their home after it was completely destroyed.

When we visited them, the family was busy preparing their dinner in a small shed covered with tarpaulin – their home for now.

Despite the loss this family suffered, one thing that keeps them going is the bond among them.

They were in jovial spirit, there were moments of laughter in the shed before dinner erasing the trauma they suffered during last week’s disaster.

And to top it all, they worked together – in the clean-up and rebuilding process.

It’s empowering to witness the power of care and love that keeps people united.

It gives them the courage to encounter the impacts of catastrophic natural disasters.

“We had lived in our beautiful family house for the last 20 years. Now we are only left with the things like clothes, furniture that we were able to recover. Everything else has been destroyed by the cyclone. On that night, at around 7.30pm after the family dinner, we were inside our house when the roof of our house was blown away.

“We were scared, so we ran to the church nearby.  It is an unforgettable experience. At that moment, all I thought of was about the safety of my children. We are thankful to God for saving our lives. For as long as we have our loved ones, we will start over again,” Mrs Marama said.
Source: Ministry of Women,Children and Poverty Alleviation



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