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Refuge turns into nightmare

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WOMEN, children and the elderly from Natawarau Village in Ba were crying for their lives to be spared as a lone wall became their only protection from the wrath of Tropical Cyclone Evan.

The villagers fought for hours on Monday during the cyclone's peak to keep what was left of two classrooms at Tavarau Primary School from being blown away.

Villagers recalled how the evacuation centre became a death trap.

"The women and children were scared and they were crying because all we could do was run to the back of the wall and push it against the wind," said Natawarau villager, Jimilai Kuruvakua.

Mr Kuruvakua's family had taken shelter at Tavarau Primary School situated on a hill not far from their village on Monday morning and by midday Evan's onslaught was at its peak.

"We had just sat down to have lunch when one of the walls and the roof were blown away.

"All of our clothes, the ones that we saved from our home, got wet including our food.

"All we have left are the clothes that we have on right now," he said.

Mr Kuruvakua's wife, Kalesi said her one-month-old grandchild was her main concern.

"When the roof came down, all I could think about was my grandchild, Mrs Kuruvakua said.

"We wrapped her in a blanket than we ran outside to the verandah. The next classroom was also destroyed and the only thing protecting us was a piece of wall.

"Everyone did what they could to push the wall against the wind and we knew if the wall had fallen we would've all died or been injured," said Mrs Kuruvakua.

A total of 122 people took shelter at the school.





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