NEWS

A Nightmare That Vaseva And Her Family Will Always Remember

Even my books, pencils and pens are all gone. How am I going to go to school now? It’s my holidays and I love watching TV. But now even the TV has been damaged. All I do now is go around and look at all the broken things,
02 Jan 2021 14:14
A Nightmare That Vaseva And Her Family Will Always Remember
Vaseva Daumaka shows her damaged house and destroyed belongings after a category five cyclone hit her island home. Photo: UNICEF Pacific

I was so scared. My family and I ran to my school to hide. I was crying all the time and hugging my mother very tight that night.

This is what Vaseva Daumaka remembers of the night Cyclone Yasa struck Fiji.

 

When UNICEF visited Galoa

Vaseva is one of many living on the small island village called Galoa.

The houses were badly destroyed with wet clothes and mattresses spread out to dry in the sun. Many small and weak tents were set up to provide temporary shelter for the residents.

This island was badly damaged by the strong winds and heavy monstrous rain brought by the category five cyclone, causing immense destruction, especially in Vanua Levu.

Vaseva, 12, who lives in this village with her family, sat down on a mat and shared that all her clothes as well as other belongings are all gone now.

“Even my books, pencils and pens are all gone. How am I going to go to school now? It’s my holidays and I love watching TV. But now even the TV has been damaged. All I do now is go around and look at all the broken things,” she said.

It was a very scary night for Vaseva as she had never experienced such a strong cyclone before.

“I am very unhappy. Look at my house! It’s all gone. I am now staying in a small tent with my parents, brothers and sisters and my grandparents. We all get wet when it rains.”

Vaseva’s grandfather, Napolioni Saraqia, smiled slowly as he introduced himself, sitting on a chair near Vaseva.

“You know, after the cyclone hit, I came by and saw my house. There was no stop to my tears that day,” he said while wiping a tear from his worried eyes.

“Everything is ruined.”

Mr Saraqia had lived on the island for 50 years and has never experienced anything as devastating as Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

“We [the villagers] had dug up a well after the cyclone to collect rainwater as our source of drinking water was destroyed in the cyclone. We don’t even boil the rainwater. That’s how thirsty we all are. Even all the coconuts are finished now. The children all run at once for the coconuts.”

“I am so happy to see UNICEF and the Government giving us water and other important things. We really needed this for our daily living, especially the water. We can live without food, but not without water.”

Vaseva walked near her damaged house and gestured shyly with her hands to join her.

“This is where my house was. You can see all our belongings still lying here. I am sad that I lost so much but I’m happy that everyone on my island is safe. We will be working together to build everything.” She smiled courageously.

 

UNICEF’s support:

UNICEF, together with partners, is supporting the Fijian government to respond to the needs of communities, families and children in affected areas.

Technical support to damage assessments in schools as well as health facilities was provided so data can be used to inform an effective and well-targeted response.

Water, sanitation and hygiene dignity kits including water containers, buckets, soap, sanitary pads and whistles, amongst other materials are being distributed to families in the most affected areas.

Education supplies, including tents, tarpaulins, school-in-a-box, early childhood development and recreation kits have also been delivered, and many more are ready to be distributed once damage assessment analysis is complete, in time for the new school term.

Tents, serving as temporary clinics, and essential nutrition supplies have also been distributed to support health facilities. UNICEF is ready to support the humanitarian response to hasten the recovery and a return to normalcy of families and communities.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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