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Tears flow for eleven

Sikeli Qounadovu
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

EMOTIONS were high and tears flowed as villagers of Nasau gathered in front of the memorial stone with the names of the lives lost during Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

As dark clouds hovered over the Delai Dokidoki and Delai Nakulakula mountain ranges, the heavens opened and it rained, bringing back memories of the fateful day that will forever be remembered by those who survived the wrath of the Category 5 monster cyclone.

Yesterday, Nasau villagers not only gathered for the funeral service of Josaia Qereqeretabua, the Turaga-ni-Mataqali Vunuku but also for a memorial service in remembrance of the 11 lives lost as a result of the second worst natural disaster in recorded history to make landfall in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Today — two years ago we faced one of the most trying times in our lives. All of us still remember that day as if it happened yesterday and as we go on with our daily lives we will remember them, we will remember our loved ones that we lost on that fateful day," said Reverend Ilaisa Tulele.

"Today God continues to ask us, where is our faith, believe in Him and He will set us free, we will remember them and at the same time we need to strengthen our faith in the Lord," he added.

And as the choir sang the Winston hymn composed by renowned songwriter and Nasau villager Simeli Cokanasiga, the more than 100 people gathered were all in tears.

"I still miss him very much," said Vani Levaci, whose husband Luke Levaci was one of the victims.

"Life will never be the same and in as much as we smile and look happy we will still be haunted by the memories of Cyclone Winston," added Mr Cokanasiga.

"I can still see her smiling face, I can still hear her voice and every day I miss her very much," said Asinate Buisokisoki after placing the wreath for her daughter Inise Toganiyasawa, who was only six years old in 2016.

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