VITI SPARED BY FLASH FLOODS
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.