Lucky escape

This family traversed Vunivau in Labasa in a boat with their pet dog yesterday. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

RESIDENTS in Nacula beside the Labasa River counted themselves lucky because the river burst its banks during the hours of daylight.

Floodwaters surged through the settlement yesterday morning forcing residents out of bed.

Resident Vani Debalevu said at 5am her house, which was 10 metres from the river bank, was under water and within an hour the whole settlement was under water.

Ms Debalevu said by this time she was already awake and they were taking necessary precautions.

“However, the rain from the previous night which began at around 10pm was really heavy and persistent until this (yesterday) morning,” she said.

“We are thankful that by this (yesterday) morning the rain had stopped.”

Another resident Jovilisi Katonibau said in 2003 during TC Amy, water had reached the ceiling of homes.

Mr Katonibau said they were unlucky then since the cyclone had struck at night, making it difficult for people to make their way out of the village. However in 2010, TC Thomas had struck in the light of day making it easier for villagers to secure themselves and their homes.

He said this year they considered themselves lucky too because floodwaters from the heavy rain which fell on Wednesday night had begun entering the village at 5am.

“We are thankful that no one’s life was endangered or affected by the flood today (yesterday),” he said.

“This settlement is always threatened by floodwaters during heavy rain since it lies by the river bank. Families affected by the flood have been evacuated into the village hall.”