IT was little after midday on Thursday when Vijay Narayan, 64, left his walking stick to save his house when floodwaters entered Nakoba settlement in Galoa.
The settlers who live next to a bridge on the Queens Highway labelled the disaster "horrific" because they did not expect floodwaters rushing through their homes.
Men braved the currents to save their belongings while the women and children took refuge on their beds.
Mr Narayan said five families moved from Wainirara in October last year but had no idea their new settlement was a flood-prone area.
"We were forced to leave Wainirara and this is the only place we found," Mr Narayan said.
Eight-year-old Suprina Narayan hugged her mother tight as she watched her home fill with muddy water.
Mr Narayan said the river burst its banks, leaving them with no time to save their belongings.
"We can't move or do much because this is everything we've got," he said.
"This is our home and I'd rather stay here while my home is swept away because this is all I have."
Mr Narayan hoped the government would assist them as they struggle to return to their normal lives.