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'I cried with them'

Repeka Nasiko
Thursday, March 17, 2016

AN advisory councillor for three settlements in Nadelei, Tavua, has been working tirelessly each day since Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston hit the country nearly four weeks ago.

Hirdesh Nand said he had to walk more than 50 kilometres to Tavua Town the morning after the Category 5 cyclone hit on February 20 in search of help for residents.

"There were 44 households that were living without any homes," he said.

"When I went to each home to survey the damage all I could do was cry with them because most of them had lost everything.

"I lost part of my home too but I put my needs aside to try and help our people.

"This has been one of the most difficult and emotional experiences I've ever had since becoming advisory councillor. I see so many people without homes and with nothing left and they are coming to me for help."

He said many of the households did not have a secondary source of income that could help them recover.

"Most of them are vegetable farmers who lost everything. Our livestock farmers lost a lot of their animals during the cyclone.

"The day after Winston we had to collect a lot of our dead animals from the roadside and from the hills.

"Most of the farmers here are dairy farmers and they don't earn enough to be able to rebuild their homes."

He said some of the residents needed counselling after being traumatised by the experience.

"Many of them thought they were going to die on that night.

"So when Empower Pacific officials came to our area with food rations, I asked them to offer some counselling services to some of our people.

"Most of them will take a very long time to recover from this."








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