NATION

Yaro Villagers On Kia Plan Relocation

Thirty RFMF personnel arrived on Saturday to assess and provide relief as more reinforcements are expected in the coming days.
30 Dec 2020 10:35
Yaro Villagers On Kia Plan Relocation
Yaro villagers Ece Takaiwai (left) and Apisai Naisarani, on Kia Island on December 29, 2020, have started to rebuild their homes from the wreckage after Cyclone Yasa mada landfall on December 14, 2020. The island was one of the hardest hit by the category 5 storm. Photo: Laisa Lu

Yesterday villagers, with the help of Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), put iron sheets and the likes in a pile that can still be used for rebuilding.

There are further plans to relocate the village according to village headman Kemueli Lautiki.

“There were surveyors that have come to survey the best location to relocate,” he said.

Mr Lautiki was thankful to the first responders as the islanders had received kits from neighbouring countries New Zealand and Australia.

“The content of the kits would help every family to start with the rebuilding process,” he said.

“It will definitely take a lot of time, but we’re taking one day at a time to rebuild our life, families, homes and village.

“With the assistance from the RFMF officers, we have been put into three evacuation centres, cleaned up the village.”

Thirty RFMF personnel arrived on Saturday to assess and provide relief as more reinforcements are expected in the coming days.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel are on the ground on Kia Island helping villagers clear away debris left behind by Cyclone Yasa. Photo: Laisa Lui

Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel are on the ground on Kia Island helping villagers clear away debris left behind by Cyclone Yasa. Photo: Laisa Lui

“Each family has been supplied with tarpaulins, kits and food rations and even clothing,” he said.

There are 38 households, 26 houses completely destroyed while the 12 houses partially damaged by the storm.

Eseta Vulaca

Four families were having tea after dinner at around 8pm on Thursday night when strong winds began to peel off the roofing iron of their home.

There were seven children, two babies and nine adults, all squashed into a bedroom.

“My mother felt weak as she saw everything gone and we were drenched throughout the night.

“I reassured her that all those can be replaced but nothing can ever replace a life after it is gone.

“During the height of the storm, our cries were drowned as the sounds of the wind were stronger and frightening.

“It was like our home was continuously being hit by big stones.

“Only three roofing iron was left in the room where we had taken cover, that kept us safe until morning,”she said.

Strange findings

Staff Nurse Losana Yanyanutawa said when her husband opened the front door around 7pm, he was greeted with waves on their porch.

“Wwe ran into our neighbour’s house to take shelter.

“The storm surge had already washed away three metres of the shoreline where the fence was and had come right to our doorstep.

“When the RFMF officers came, I requested if they could help in setting up the nursing station first.”

Staff Nurse Yanyanutawa added: “Upon lifting up debris and the wall of the house, it was strange to find two skulls and skeletons.

“These have been moved to the burial ground.

“A snake was also found. It must have been nesting in a tree that was shaken by the strong winds, it was killed before it could harm anyone.”

Scared 11-year-old protects siblings during cyclone

An 11-year-old boy carried his two-week-old brother under the bed at the height of Cyclone Yasa.

Timoci Masiniqa, the eldest of four children, stepped up to protect his younger siblings as the cyclone was passing.

His mother had ran towards the window as the roof from the house next door had slammed into their windows. Timoci collected his siblings and carried his two-week-old baby brother, Tomasi Lagakula Junior, into their bedroom to take cover.

“I have never been so scared in my life, the strong winds were howling and louvers breaking,” Timoci said.

From left: Timoci Masiniqa, brother Tomasi Lagikula Junior and Semesa Suiloa had sheltered under this bed when Cyclone Yasa hit the island on December 14, 2020. Photo: Laisa Lui

From left: Timoci Masiniqa, brother Tomasi Lagikula Junior and Semesa Suiloa had sheltered under this bed when Cyclone Yasa hit the island on December 14, 2020. Photo: Laisa Lui

“I took my baby brother and ran into the room and cried as I was scared. I didn’t want anything to happen to my brothers and sister.

“I was shaking even when my mother came to check on us.

“I will never forget what TC Yasa did, it gave me courage to make sure my siblings were okay,” he said.

Timoci’s mother Asenaca Davai said: “I encouraged him to be strong and not to cry. He had to be strong for his siblings.

“I told them to get under the bed and put a mattress to cover them as the roof was starting to be blown off by the strong winds.”

There were more than 20 people sheltering in their four bedroom home.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa and Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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