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Homeless after Evan

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, January 04, 2013

MORE than two weeks after Tropical Cyclone Evan hit the country, a family left homeless by fierce winds has been sheltering in the ruins of a burnt out and abandoned building in Nadi.

Timaima Vanakitoga and her family sought refuge at the abandoned Assemblies of God church building near Aerotown as soon as the roof and walls of their modest timber and roofing iron home was ripped off by the category four storm.

"We fled to the church and then I went back home to try and secure our belongings but when the walls began crashing down around me, I scrambled to safety at the church to take care of my three children and aged parents," she said.

Immediately after the cyclone had passed, Ms Vanakitoga and her family returned to the empty site where their home once stood and discovered that they had lost everything. They constructed a makeshift shelter in the concrete shell of a burnt out building near their home with pieces of debris and plastic from a Vodafone billboard.

"We went to DISMAC and Red Cross to ask for assistance but so far nothing has come of our request. I am worried about the wellbeing of my three girls and how I will prepare them for school and also how I will be able to look after my 65-year-old dad and 54-year-old mum. The place we are currently living in gets flooded when there's heavy rain and the dampness has affected my parents' health," she said.

Fiji Red Cross Nadi disaster officer Izaz Mohammed said two teams had dropped in at Ms Vanakitoga's home but were unable to visit the family.

"We have received hundreds of calls and are working frantically to cover as much of the affected areas as we possibly can with the limited resources that we have. We will attempt to contact Ms Vanakitoga again to see how we can best assist her," he said.





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