Fiji Red Cross Society response reach out to the island of Vatulele

April 15, 2020

It’s more than a year now since TC Harold swept through the Fiji waters and caused significant destruction on the islands of Kadavu, Vatulele and the Lau Group.

The Fiji Red Cross Society identified Vatulele as one of the most devastated by Tropical Cyclone Harold through the assessment that was carried out a few weeks ago by the Red Cross team.

A team of 8 volunteers and 3 staff visited families on the island of Vatulele and distributed solar lights, water filtration system, water containers and shelter toolkits as part of our recovery activities.

“I’ve been through a lot of cyclones that tore our village apart but this one was the strongest of them all”, said Mr Iliesa Kaloumatua of Ekubu village.

The 87 years old man whose house was completely damaged during the cyclone was devastated when the strong winds and tidal waves swept through their village on the morning of April 8th, 2020.

I couldn’t stand against the wind as I tried to hold for support but the wind kept pushing me back. It was a nightmare, the wind was howling at the back window and I was really scared because we had no choice but to jump through the window with my family and we ran to the evacuation community hall for shelter.

I’m so thankful to have evacuated. I don’t know whether I could have survived if I didn’t evacuate with my family. During my whole life I spent in Vatulele I had never seen the ocean so violent – the beach had disappeared along with the dunes. It was my rude awakening to the seriousness of the situation which was only about to become so much worse. I understand the urge that people feel to stay with their home, hoping against odds that it won’t be as bad as they say. The cyclone really taught me a lot on that day.

After the cyclone passed, all we had is our family who we can hold on to since our houses and belongings were washed away. But when the Fiji Red Cross Society arrived with all the shelter toolkits, water filtration and even our solar lights, we were really happy and now I can cover my home and sit with my family again. Vinaka Vakalevu Red Cross!

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