VITI SPARED BY FLASH FLOODS

mailife - - Community -

GRAB­BING her bi­ble and her youngest grand-child, Mere­wai Viti, 46, ran as fast as she could to safety. She fled from Toge Vil­lage in Ba, one of the places in the prov­ince hard­est hit by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Josie. Viti was cook­ing curry eg­g­plant and rice for Sun­day break­fast at 5am when Josie struck in the form of a flash flood. “I moved to Toge in 2011 with my hus­band, who is from here. I have wit­nessed many floods in Ba but this one was just un­be­liev­able,” she said. “The river that sur­rounds this vil­lage rises and re­cedes all the time so it floods, but what hap­pened on 1 April was quite dif­fer­ent. The flood water came in full force with all its might and didn’t want to re­cede.” Iron­i­cally Viti had just served her hus­band his cur­ried eg­g­plant break­fast and turned to get some­thing else from the kitchen cabi­net drawer when she sud­denly saw the plate of food she had just served float past her in a flash. “I shouted to my hus­band to take our grand­chil­dren out first. He took the two older ones while I car­ried the youngest grand­child and my bi­ble and ran out.” “I am just thankful the flash flood hap­pened dur­ing broad day­light, if it hap­pened while it was still dark, peo­ple would have died.” Viti was ev­i­dently still in a state of shock when maiLife vis­ited her. She was clean­ing up her home, hos­ing down the whole house and dry­ing out what­ever she could sal­vage from the wreck­age. She and her hus­band had rushed their four-yearold grand­daugh­ter, a three-year-old grand­son and an­other just 18 months old to her in-laws who lived just a few me­tres away, but where they were safe from the flood. “I tell you, we were an is­land, all these places in the vil­lage were filled with water,” Viti said. Although se­verely dam­aged, Viti is has no choice but to clean up the de­bris and go back to their home un­til she finds an al­ter­na­tive place to move to. “I am so used to liv­ing here be­side the river, but after what hap­pened dur­ing Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Josie, I know we have to pick up the pieces, re­cover and hope­fully move on to some­where safer in the near fu­ture.” The par­ents of Viti’s grand­chil­dren live in Bale­vuto in Ba, which was also hit dur­ing Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Josie. “I got fre­quent phone calls from my daugh­ter ask­ing about her chil­dren but I told her not to worry since both we were in the same sit­u­a­tion and I would do my best to keep them safe.” Viti said she grabbed her Bi­ble when she ran from the flood with her grand­child be­cause she be­lieved only God could save them. “I stood stead­fast in my faith in God and I prayed that our lives be spared. I know God spared us for a rea­son and right now I don’t know what that is, but I will go through each day at a time,” she said.

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