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Worst floods in 8 decades

Avinesh Gopal
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SHE is still reeling from the fear created by the devastating floods which caused havoc in the Western Division.

The flooding experienced by Ram Rati in early 2009 was nothing compared to what she and other families faced on March 30.

The 80-year old said she had never experienced such floods in her lifetime like the one earlier this month.

Originally from Waibogi in Sigatoka, she moved to Nayawa near the Melrose Bridge about 15-years ago.

She lives with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in a concrete house in Nayawa, which is on the Suva-end of Sigatoka.

Except for the heavy rain from the previous night, it was a normal Friday (March 30) for Ms Rati and family.

Although a flood warning had been issued for certain areas in the country, she did not expect the Nayawa area to flood.

"It was 6am on that Friday. It was raining heavily when we woke up to knee-deep water inside the house," she said.

"I opened the door and saw floodwaters rising and we decided to move to a neighbour's house which was on higher area in Nayawa."

Ms Rati said she and her other family members remained at the neighbour's house until 5pm when they had to be rescued as the floodwaters had reached where they were sheltering.

She said a man rescued her and other people at the neighbour's house and took them by boat to the Sigatoka Methodist School. "While we were going in the boat, I could see only the top half of my house visible as there was water everywhere.

"There was water in the school compound too but it was not that bad as the floodwaters in my area.

"The last time we experienced flooding was in early 2009 when part of the old Sigatoka bridge was washed away because of the force of the water from the highlands.

"But this time, flooding happened twice early Friday morning and then later in the afternoon," she added.

Ms Rati said the flood experienced on March 30 was worse than the floods of early 2009.

"I've lived almost all my life in Waibogi and only the road there gets blocked whenever there is continuous rain.

"But this is the first time I experienced something like this I've never seen anything like this in my whole life. It was something else and I still think about that frightening morning and how we were saved by the man who came in a boat."

Ms Rati said the only thing people could do was take precautions because the floods were a wrath of nature.

"Take precautions and heed warnings when given. We can not fight the wrath of nature," she said.





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