NATION

Cyclone Ana: Night Of Terror: Single Mum Tells

On Sunday, while she, her eight-year-old daughter and parents were in the house, described the ordeal as a terrifying one.
03 Feb 2021 10:09
Cyclone Ana: Night Of Terror: Single Mum Tells
Neha Raj’s daughter, Tanshi Prasad in front of their home in Jittu Estate, Samabula, on February 2, 2021

Neha Raj wants to build her house back stronger. But how to do so would be a challenge.

The unemployed and single mother of Jittu Estate was yesterday picking up the pieces of what was left of her home after Tropical Cyclone Ana blew away the roof.

It spared part of the wall, and its already unstable stilts.

On Sunday, while she, her eight-year-old daughter and parents were in the house, described the ordeal as a terrifying one.

“We literally felt the whole structure move,” she said.

“It was between 3 and 4am on Sunday when part of our roof was blown away.

“We feared for our lives as we felt the shift in structure, if it had shifted a little further our house could have been down in seconds and our lives lost on the spot.”

Ms Raj was laid off from her job in November last year because of COVID-19 pandemic.

“My father is the only one working in the family. Whatever he earns is only enough to sustain us.

“We only hoped that someone would be able to assist us rebuild back stronger.

“Right now we will be living with my aunty as we see what could be done to our house, we can only be hopeful for better days ahead.”

They’ve been living in the house for 11 years. Ms Raj’s situation is not unique. Thousands of families living in informal settlements are vulnerable to natural disasters like Cyclone Ana.

In an earlier report, the national building code, which sets the criteria for building standards in the country, has not been revised for the past 29 years, the Construction Industry Council of Fiji found.

But the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Housing and Community Development Sanjeeva Perera said there were programmes that helps create awareness on how informal settlement dwellers could be better prepared.

One of these is the ‘Guidelines for Improving Building Safety’ widely available in both English and iTaukei languages online.

Suva and Lami special administrator chair Isikeli Tikoduadua said the Suva City Council was only tasked with the collection of waste in informal settlements.

“We cannot use the Suva ratepayer’s money for those expenses,” he said.

He added that the Ministry of Housing and Local Government looked at issues concerning informal settlement dwellers.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



FS JAB DRIVE


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Total
Covid 19 - SPC
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper