NATION

PM On A Mission On Vatulele Island

Mereseini Vulavou of Ekubu Village in Vatulele said she was grateful for the timely assistance by Government and donor organisations, which would help them pick up the pieces of what was left behind by TC Harold.
21 May 2020 09:37
PM On A Mission On Vatulele Island
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Ekubu villagers on Vatulele on May 20, 2020. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday toured Ekubu Village on Vatulele to witness first-hand the devastating impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold which ravaged the island in April.

He was also there to deliver the second phase of relief supplies to those affected on the Island.

Mereseini Vulavou of Ekubu Village in Vatulele said she was grateful for the timely assistance by Government and donor organisations, which would help them pick up the pieces of what was left behind by TC Harold.

In reliving the accounts of what she termed as a horrible tragedy, Ms Vulavou said she had never imagined that the family home that she treasured for so many years could be destroyed in just a matter of hours.

“It was a Wednesday morning,” she recalled.

“The strong winds came from nowhere and it was too late for my family to save anything.”

Originally from Vakasali Village, Wainunu in Bua, but married to Ekubu, she said she had never seen any cyclone as strong as TC Harold.

“I started crying not out of fear but at the thought of losing and rebuilding our home again,” she said.

“We used to have a small temporary shelter that we used to make masi and when the strong winds hit the shelter, it was uprooted and as a result it directly hit our home.

“My husband held my hand and my daughter’s hand and told us to run out of the house before it was going to blow away too.

“We ran out of the house with nothing but the clothes on our back.

“Running out of the house to our neighbour’s home was a huge struggle. Every time we stepped forward, the strong winds swayed us left and right.”

She said they could not even lock the doors to their house as they were frightful of flying debris.

“When I told my husband about the front door and that it was not locked he said for me to leave it because our lives were more important than the house.”

Safely reaching their neighbour’s home all drenched in rain and shivering from the cold, Ms Vulavou said: “There was nothing any of us could do as we silently watched our home destroyed by the strong winds.”

Three hours later when the strong winds died down, the family was able to come out of their neighbour’s home to gather what TC Harold left behind.

“Our home withstood TC Winston and other cyclones. but this one was beyond our control.

“We lost everything. Our household items, pots and clothes were floating in the river next to our home.

“For now we will continue to rebuild our home as we live in our neighbour’s house,” she said.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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