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Fiji Time: 5:52 AM on Saturday 20 September

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Tree refuge

Maciu Malo In The Yasawa Group
Sunday, December 23, 2012

TROPICAL Cyclone Evan may have left the country but for the families living in Naboro Village on Wayalailai, the destructive force of the storm will never be forgotten.

For Seruwaia Marau and husband Seremaia Naiqovuqovunisiga the rage of TC Evan forced them from the assumed safety of their home to seek shelter under felled trees. Mrs Marau said she would never forget that fateful day and how she and her husband were forced to cover their two sons with coconut leaves at the height of the Category 4 cyclone.

She said the only thing that saved them was that the hurricane happened during the day.

"We were gathered as a family inside our sitting room when strong winds smashed down one of our walls," recalled Mrs Marau.

"We then ran to the kitchen and when we got there we heard a loud noise and saw our whole house being uprooted leaving only the floor. We stood there in shock because we had never experienced this before.

"Roofing iron from other houses were flying around like tree leaves which really frightened us. My husband called out for us to follow him and shelter under nearby fallen coconut trees.

"We lay our two boys on the ground between two fallen coconut trees and then used the coconut leaves and our bodies to cover them. I held my husband's hand as we kept a tight grip on our two kids."

Mrs Marau said the family stayed there for more than two hours pounded by extremely strong winds and pelted by heavy rain.

"We could not move anywhere because of all the flying roofing iron and debris. I started thinking that we were all going to die.

"As we lay there we heard the sound of a tree about to break and saw another coconut tree about to fall on us. My husband yelled at us to run for shelter under the floor of our damaged home. He carried my two boys and we dove under the floor for shelter as the tree came crashing down right where we had been seconds before," she said.

After sheltering under the floor of their home, Mrs Marau and her family were evacuated to a nearby school.


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