Twin Babies Delivered At Height Of Cyclone Ana

Mum swam through flooded roads, crossings to safely give birth at military barracks in Labasa
02 Feb 2021 11:47
Twin Babies Delivered At Height Of Cyclone Ana
Akesa Kelenayatoka with her twin daughters at Labasa Hospital on February 1, 2021. Photo: Shratika Naidu

While many will remember Cyclone Ana for its wrath and destruction, Akesa Kelenayatoka, of Dreketilailai, Labasa, will remember it as day she struggled to deliver twin daughters.

The 26-year-old spoke yesterday from her Labasa Hospital bed and recounted how she walked and swam for an hour to cross the flooded roads and crossings from Dreketilailai to Vitandra.

“My due date was February 23, but by midday on Sunday my water broke and that’s when I asked my husband, Josese Muniwaka to call for help,” Mrs Kelenayatoka said.

“No van could come up because roads and crossings were flooded.”

She said her husband and a few of their relatives helped her swim through the flooded crossings and roads.

“Our feet couldn’t touch the road and that’s when we swam,” she said.

“When roads were cleared then we walked.


Safety at army camp

“It took us one hour, then the four army officers came in their vehicle and picked us up from Vitandra.”

Sukanaivalu Army Barrack staff sergeant Kelepi Nakauvari said he brought them to the army camp at Vaturekuka and it was around 7pm.

“I quickly searched for medical staff,” Sergeant Nakauvari said.

“We managed to drive through and get hold of a Police Officer’s wife who is a nurse and an Army Officer’s wife, who is a doctor.

“They checked and found out that one baby was not in the right position to deliver.”

He quickly took them inside a vehicle to get into a fiber boat to cross the flooded road from Vaturekuka to Volovi to Labasa Hospital.

“The gale force wind was so strong that we had to bring her back to the medical camp and that’s when her pain started,” the father of three children said.

“At 10:15pm she delivered the first baby and the second at 10:29pm.”

He said it was a joy to see both babies healthy and breathing.

“The doctor and nurse did the delivery and quickly placed the mother on drips,” he said.

“At 4am when the flood water receded, I transported the mother and babies to Labasa Hospital.”

Sergeant Nakauvari said he kept contacting his wife, Adi Lumutalei, a retired midwife, to get advice on how to look after an expecting mother.

“This is my best memory in 35 years of service in the military before I retire this year,” the 54-year-old originally from Ra said.

Mrs Kelenayatoka’s oldest child is a seven-year-old girl.

“I would like to thank the nurse, doctor and army officers, my husband and cousins who braved the winds and rain to save my babies,” she said.

“I can’t express you the pain I suffered from swimming and walking in the cold and rain just to save my babies.

“I risked my life, but I thank Jesus for his mercy and provisions.”

She had yet to name the babies but said she wouldn’t name either of them after Cyclone Ana.




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