Kaila! News: TC Keni was a first for children on Kadavu

Children of Kabariki Village. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU

FOR all children born and raised on the island of Kadavu for the past 30 years, Tropical Cyclone Keni was their first experience of the immense forces of mother nature.
In fact for the older generation on the island, their last experience of a cyclone as such was when TC Meli ripped through the Fiji Group battering the island of Kadavu in 1979.
TC Meli lasted a little over an hour but its trail of destruction was a mess with lives lost (about 20 from Kadavu when a church collapsed at Vabea Village on Ono Island), farms destroyed and houses flattened.
Children shared their experiences of how they had to abandon their homes at the height of TC Keni when rooftops were blown off. They relived memories when storm-surging waves rampaged and destroyed everything in its path, while some wiped a tear or two telling the tale of their frightful experience.
“I cried so much because I was really scared and when I looked around everyone was crying,” said Sera Wani, 10, who with about 100 villagers huddled inside the Talaulia Village toilet after strong winds and storm surges destroyed their evacuation centre — the village hall.
TC Keni did not last an hour but its force was enough to send villagers homeless with children evidently still feeling the trauma.
Today, these children continue to run along the shores enjoying their holidays before they prepare for the second school term,
Given that children can be pretty resilient in the aftermath of a disaster, it would be wonderful if they were given all the help possible to ensure they begin the second term afresh with TC Keni and its memories securely in the past.

  • The Fiji Times produces Kaila!, the only newspaper for students and young adults in the region. Kaila! is an international award winning newspaper and is printed as an insert in The Fiji Times Wednesday editions.