Tracing TC Keni’s Trail of Destruction
OUR MaiLife team in Ba took on a different role in April when they boarded the Lomaiviti Princess 1 bound for Kadavu to distribute food rations and clothes to Tropical Cyclone Keni victims. West Editorial Manager Mela Katonivualiku, volunteer and Ba fire warden Kinijoji Cakobau and photographer Jone Luvenitoga were hosted at Vunisei Village in the tikina of Naceva during their four-day stay and villagers helped them tremendously. Embarking on the aid assignment at Vunisea wharf, maiLife gave Police Public Relations Officer Ms Ana Naisoro three food rations packs and as well as women and childrens’ clothes for distribution in her village of Ravitaki, where three families had their homes totally destroyed. After arriving at Vunisei Village the team boarded a fibre boat bound for Daku Village. Although government officials had been heading in and out of the villages conducting assessment drives, for most of the inhabitants our supply of food and clothes was the first form of assistance they had received since TC Keni struck the
island. Naceva District representative Apisai Naiwau said they were surprised because they had made no request to MaiLife for assistance of any sort. “We are truly grateful that you travelled all the way from Ba brining food rations and clothes. You are the first group to come to assist us,” he said. In both villages root crops were destroyed and trees fell. In Daku a home was blown away. Daku villager Kesa described her ordeal as a nightmare as she witnessed a neighbour’s home blown away. “Until today I still have flashbacks of that dreadful day. We were lucky strong winds hit us during the day and lasted for about an hour. If it had lasted more than an hour, I am sure lives would have been lost. I am grateful that my family and I still have the breath of life.” During their second day, the team visited Naivakarauniniu Village, perched on a hill overlooking the sea. Villager Tevita Vakacabeqoli described the ordeal as ‘the first of its kind’. “We were lucky it happened in the early hours of the morning and dawn was breaking. If it had happened at night, am sure lives would have been lost.” He said despite their crops and some of their livestock being destroyed they survived each day with whatever was left and turned to the sea for their next meal. The people of Kadavu showed an admirable resiliency as they continued to live their normal lives and put the disaster behind them.