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Fiji Time: 3:01 AM on Sunday 20 April

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Left with a basket

Maciu Malo
Friday, December 28, 2012

SEVENTY six-year old Viliame Vatunitu was searching for his only possession, a basket of clothes when The Fiji Times team caught up with him at Yamata Village on Wayalailai in the Yasawa Group of Islands.

Mr Vatunitu was left homeless after Tropical Cyclone Evan completely destroyed his wooden house last week.

He said the damage caused by Evan was the biggest he had seen in his lifetime.

Mr Vatunitu added recovery from the loss would be difficult because he was too old to look for income sources to fund the rebuilding of his home.

"Luckily I had moved to my nephew's place before my house was blown away by the cyclone," he said.

"Evan has left me homeless and I have nothing saved. Even now I am still looking for my only basket of clothes," Mr Vatunitu said.

"I was in the village when Hurricane Bebe hit us in 1972 but this cyclone was way bigger than Bebe. But the most important thing is that no one was seriously injured and no life was lost," he said.

"We were also lucky that the cyclone hit us during the day otherwise it would have been a different story altogether if the cyclone hit at night."

Mr Vatunitu pleaded for the government to assist him with the rebuilding of his new home.

"I am also requesting for the government to assist us with food as all our farms were destroyed by the cyclone," he added.

Yamata sustained minimal damage unlike Namara and Naboro villages where substantial structural damage was recorded.