NATION

Families Thankful For Police Help With Evacuation

Two families, one of which has three disabled members, are grateful to Police officers for transporting them to Shiri Guru Nanak Khalsa College an evacuation centre in Labasa, at the
08 Jan 2019 10:58
Families Thankful For Police Help With Evacuation
Front from left: Sukrith Lingam, Aniamma, Premila Wati and Maniam Lingam, (back from left) Nimesh Lingam and Daniel Lingam of Bouma Settlement took shelter at Shiri Guru Nanak Khalsa College in Labasa on January 7, 2019. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Two families, one of which has three disabled members, are grateful to Police officers for transporting them to Shiri Guru Nanak Khalsa College an evacuation centre in Labasa, at the height of Tropical Cyclone Mona on Sunday.

Mother-of-six Aniamma, 77, her youngest son Sukrith Lingam, 24, daughter-in-law Premila Wati, 43, accompanied by her three children, Marima Lingam, 22, Daniel Lingam, 18, and Nimesh Lingam, 15, live at Bouma Squatter Settlement in Labasa.

“My son and I live in a small wooden house,” Ms Aniamma said. “We didn’t want to take risks because there was heavy rain and after
nightfall we couldn’t get help.”

Mrs Wati, who lives beside her mother-in-law, said her house was built in a swampy area and was vulnerable during strong winds.
“My two eldest children are mentally challenged and my youngest brother-in-law, Sukrith Lingam is physically disabled and they are
students of Labasa School for Special Education, hence my husband and I thought about their safety and decided to move to the evacuation centre.”
Divisional Police Commander (DPC) Northern Senior Superintendent of Police Eparama Waqa said officers had been on standby
and helped out whenever they were called by the emergency operations centre at the Commissioner Northern’s office.

Meanwhile, two families of Vuo Settlement took shelter at Vunika Primary School three kilometres away during strong winds and
heavy rain on Sunday evening.

The school is 14 kilometres from Labasa Town.

Teresia Ditaba, 67, her seven grandchildren and neighbour Shanti Devi, 47, were taken to the evacuation centre at 7pm in the
transport organised by Commissioner Northern’s Office.

“At about 6pm the water level in the nearby creek rose and was about to enter the house,” said Ms Ditaba, who has three children and
16 grandchildren.

“I quickly told my two sons to pack important belongings and contact the emergency operations centre for transport.

“We were very afraid because we’ve had bad experiences, especially during cyclones in the past 20 years.

“We are happy that at least we took proactive measures and were able to save our grandchildren.”

Ms Devi said she first alerted Ms Ditaba when she saw the water level rise in the creek.

“She quickly advised me to pack and leave with them because transport was coming,” Ms Devi said.

“We spent one night at the school and are thankful to be safe. We are now waiting to go home and clean up.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

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