WHEN a natural disaster strikes people are reminded of their fragility.
And for someone who has experienced loss and hardship as a result of flooding, her children and grandchildren were the first thing on her mind.
Fipe Ratumeli, a former employee of Outrigger on the Lagoon Resort, said disaster preparedness was critically important to the people of Nasigatoka Village because they faced risks during the rainy season when the Sigatoka River rises and threatens to breach its banks.
Ms Ratumeli said when she saw water entering one end of the village she immediately evacuated her children to the Nasigatoka District School, which is located on a higher ground.
Ms Ratumeli has been struggling with six children and eight grandchildren since the death of her husband.
"But I'm quite a resilient person, and I've gotten on with life," Ms Ratumeli said.
"Heavy rains always caused devastating floods in many parts of Sigatoka and it's how you respond to it that matters.
"Once flooding happens, victims must be reached quickly and effectively.
"Although we cannot always know when and where a disaster will hit, we can ensure we are ready to respond."
Ms Ratumeli said she had to move her children and grandchildren to high ground because their area was always the first to be affected because it is located next to a creek that flows through the village.