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Strong wind batters Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

VILLAGERS of Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa have been experiencing strong wind battering their island homes since yesterday morning as Tropical Cyclone Gita entered Fiji waters.

Doi villager, Tomasi Tuwai said as of 10am yesterday morning, his family heard a loud crashing sound outside of their home, upon trying to find out what caused the sound, they saw the rooftop of their neighbour's house on their doorstep.

Speaking in the iTaukei languge, Mr Tuwai said luckily the house was empty because the owner of the house had passed away.

Mr Tuwai said on Monday night, seawater entered the village caused by tidal surges, but they were fortunate there weren't any causality.

He said since yesterday morning, villagers from all four villages on Ono-i-Lau, namely Nukuni, Lovoni, Matokana and Doi, were experiencing heavy rain accompanied by destructive wind and stormy sea. Mr Tuwai said the elderly people and the young ones in the village had been relocated to the community hall and church as it was their evacuation centre.

When this newspaper contacted them about 11am, Doi villagers were hurriedly moving people to the evacuation centres as they were informed the cyclone was to hit them by midday yesterday.

On Ogea Island, villager Sulueti Koto said the same, as the disabled, elderly and the young ones have been moved to Matuatabua Primary School as it was the evacuation centre.

Ogea is one of the islands in the Lau Group where seawater enters the village green during high tide, and they were not wasting any time as the tide was slowly coming in around 11.30am yesterday.

Ms Koto said it had only started to rain yesterday and wind was also picking up speed.

This newspaper could not reach villagers on Vatoa Island when this article went to print last night as all communication lines to the island had been disrupted.

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