Fiji Time: 12:07 PM on Tuesday 20 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

None like Gita

Felix Chaudhary And Baljeet Singh
Friday, February 16, 2018

Ratu Peni Kalokalo, 85, has lived through many storms and hurricanes.

But nothing prepared him for the onslaught that was brought by Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Born in Tonga, with paternal roots in Beqa, Mr Kalokalo said it was a miracle that no one in his family or community at Lomaiviti Village in Tonga was hurt or killed.

"It was very frightening," he said.

"I have never seen a cyclone this strong. We have been through how many but none like this one.

"The roof of the house we were sheltering in was blown off and we ran from my son's home to my place."

The grandfather said his plantation, like everyone else's in Nuku'alofa, had been destroyed.

"We have lost the root crops that we relied on — tavioka and taro and also things like uto, but luckily we have yams. Yams are the best food to grow because they can survive any storm and they last very long."

Ratu Peni said Lomaiviti was filled with people of Fijian descent.

"We have about 14 households here and they are the descendants of people from Koro, Gau and even Levuka.

"On the other side of our village, there are people of Solomon Islands descent."

Etita Kalokalo, also of Lomaiviti, said like every other Pacific island that endured natural disasters, the Tongan people would pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives.

"We have never seen anything like this and even though our farms are completely damaged, we will survive," she said.

The Fiji Times photographer Baljeet Singh was part of a Fiji media team that was ferried on a Fiji Airways flight to Nuku'alofa yesterday.

He came across Ms Kalokalo preparing pandanus leaves for weaving mat. Almost every item in her home had been drenched during TC Gita.

"We haven't received food aid yet but we have harvested whatever we could salvage in the garden. It won't last long but we will get through this."

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.65010.6311
JPY 53.348150.3481
GBP 0.35320.3452
EUR 0.40320.3912
NZD 0.69270.6597
AUD 0.64710.6221
USD 0.49890.4819



Exchange Rate updated on 20th, March, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Meningococcal disease outbreak
  2. Changing politics
  3. Teacher reports male student in washroom for girls
  4. Police probe assault
  5. Next sevens challenge
  6. Parents fundraise for school dormitory
  7. Gaps in agriculture data
  8. Formal request to be sent to ODPP
  9. Commonwealth Day celebrates diversity
  10. Youths to become self-sufficient from scheme

Top Stories this Week

  1. Sims' 100th game Thursday (15 Mar)
  2. Men urged to marry Thursday (15 Mar)
  3. 'Forced to go' Saturday (17 Mar)
  4. Doctors speak out Sunday (18 Mar)
  5. Where are our horses Sunday (18 Mar)
  6. Baravilala's ode to Cessna victims Thursday (15 Mar)
  7. No desk for this girl Monday (19 Mar)
  8. A star in the making Thursday (15 Mar)
  9. Bathroom photos 'old' Friday (16 Mar)
  10. Police appeal to livestock owners Monday (19 Mar)