STC Harold: Villagers seek refuge under hall

Houses and vegetation destroyed in Buliya, Ono, Kadavu. Picture: SUPPLIED

Senior villagers of Rakiraki, Yale on Kadavu prayed silently as they witnessed scenes of people fleeing for safety under a village hall used as an evacuation centre.

Isireli Raqisia, 75, and his wife, Mere, had sought shelter at a nearby home because they felt their concrete home shaking.

“Around 2pm (Wednesday) I could see roofing iron flying everywhere,” Mr Raqisia said.

“Some villagers were sheltering in the village hall when its roof got blown off too. These villagers ran out to seek shelter under the hall.

“When I saw this, I just asked the other women we were sheltering with for us to just pray.

“We were just crying and praying silently.”

Mrs Raqisia said they had also witnessed the devastation left behind by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston on the village, but it was nothing compared with TC Harold.

She said at least 10 houses at Rakiraki were destroyed.

Not only are the villagers concerned about their survival in the days to come, they are also living on the last few food rations they have.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Office deployed its immediate situation overview (ISO) team to Kadavu yesterday to carry out assessment and verification.

The New Zealand government has also deployed a P3 Orion aircraft to undertake aerial surveillance of the areas.

(Editor’s note: This article was published in The Fiji Times on Friday, April 10, 2020)

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