Villagers flee tidal waves

Tidal waves pour into the village 'rara' while a villager watches at Tabuya village in Kadavu. Picture: Supplied/Pelasio Robanakadavu

FIFTY-five villagers of Tabuya in Nabukelevu, Kadavu have vacated their homes and are now temporarily billeted at a neighbouring settlement after two separate tidal waves gushed into their village on Sunday. Seven children under four years old, 14 between five and 15 years, 13 women and 21 men are now billeted at three homes in Nabale, a settlement located just across a river that separates it from Tabuya Village.

Speaking from his island home yesterday, village headman Ipieli Cokanasiga said the first tidal wave occurred between 4am and 5am when all the villagers were still asleep.

He said a couple who stayed by the beach was awakened by certain thudding sound coming from underneath their home, which they found out to be caused by pieces of timber hitting the wooden floor when strong waves flooded their village lawn.

He said the couple investigated further and even found a boat completely submerged on the shore, after which they alerted the headman right away.

The village headman said in that pitch black hour, he immediately mobilised all men each armed with a torch to hastily assist in getting all women and children to safety at Nabale before they returned to secure their properties.

The second tidal wave, which Mr Cokanasiga said was stronger than the first and almost a metre high, completely flooded the whole village lawn, and entered three homes, and left behind piles of debris.

When this edition went to press, all villagers remained at Nabale.

Police and the provincial administrator also visited them yesterday and advised them not to return to the village until it was deemed safe.

Mr Cokanasiga said they were thankful everyone was safe.

He said as far as he could remember, there had been three incidences of tidal waves in the village — one in the year 2000, the second in 2016 and the third last Sunday.

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