Banaban Voice

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Publish date/time: 16/03/2010 [13:10]
We are now receiving reports from the Northern Division in relation to the devastation caused by Hurricane Tomas. Tomas moved very slowly from the Eastern part of Vanua Levu towards Lau. For many areas like Cikobia, Udu Point, Rabi, Kioa and Taveuni they got the full brunt of Tomas for almost 6 hours. People in Labasa and Savusavu also experienced hurricane force winds and continuous heavy rain. Savusavu Town taxi driver Bablu, who lives in Vunikoka said this is the strongest hurricane they have ever experienced. There is an audio file attached to this story. Please login to listen.

With his wife, mother, 9 month old baby and other relatives, Bablu said they sat down in the house and just prayed and hoped that no lives are lost. With power blackouts and telephone services down, Bablu said they just sat in the house listening to the weather reports hoping that Tomas would leave the Fiji group.

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please login to listen. It was a night of fear for a family of 10 in Savusavu as the whole town was in darkness at the height of Hurricane Tomas. Hynie Fong who operates a fish shop and a small carpentry business in Savusavu Town said his sons were scared as they did not know what was happening outside.

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please login to listen.

Fong said his family was lucky as they had a generator but other shops and families in the area were not that fortunate.

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please login to listen.

Meanwhile, Savusavu Town Resident Arun Sharma said that strong winds are still being experienced as families try to fix whatever damage has been done overnight.

Sharma added that families in their neighborhood have been affected.

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In Labasa:
Nagigi Resident Rishi Chand said 8 families have lost their homes and are taking shelter at Nagigi Indian School while there are others who have lost their crops and farms, their only source of income.

He also said they he will be going out to monitor the damages.

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Another resident Ranjeet Kumar said people have been badly affected in Vunimoli and and Korotari area with their houses blown away by the strong winds.

He is now on his way to Vunicuicui to assess the damages.

A resident of Qawa, Niranjan Singh said 45 people are currently taking shelter at Qawa Primary school.

In Seaqaqa:
More than 100 families in Seaqaqa are stuck in their homes after 5 feet of flood waters covered the Kawakawavesi road this morning.

A resident Avinesh Kumar said due to strong winds some houses have sustained damages and people are now relying on rain water.

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In Taveuni:
Dalo farmer Antonio Tikotikoca said the whole island has registered a lot of damage as in many areas, crops that were due to be harvested have been destroyed.

Tikotikoca said his family on the other side of the island was also reporting a lot damage saying that they were hit badly.

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In those places currently feeling the brunt of Hurricane Tomas, reports are coming in of strong winds and heavy rain.

For those in the islands in Lomaiviti, they are currently experiencing strong winds and heavy rain.

In Lau from Yaroi in Matuku:
At the DISMAC Centre from Ratu Mocevakaca Memorial School, DISMAC official Eroni Waqabaca said no damage has been done to the houses, although they are experiencing strong winds.

Waqabaca said the only damage they can see is the mango and rain trees have been uprooted and the villagers who feel that their houses are insecure have taken shelter at the school and the health centre in Yaroi.

No casualties have been reported and Waqabaca explained that the only damage they can see is the walkway at school has been damaged.

In Naroi, Moala:
Arieta Kaci, a 60 year old woman from Naroi said that the strong winds they are experiencing now is stronger than what she experienced during Cyclone Meli.

Kaci added that it is very hard to see the effects of what is happening outside as it is very foggy and they just cannot see the damages.

People in Naroi have been experiencing these winds from yesterday afternoon.

In Tovu, Totoya:
Senirusi Seruvatu said the waves are so strong that all the fiberglass boats at sea have all been brought ashore and the water has now reached the porch of the Church.

Seruvatu added it is low tide at the moment and they expect the short bridge, 100 meters from the shore, to be underwater during high tide later this afternoon.

All the villagers have now moved to higher ground and most are taking shelter at the school, which is on the hill.

In Lakeba:
All roads have been closed and DISMAC officials there are finding difficulty in trying to find out the damage from the other villages.

Trees have fallen on the road blocking all access.

Meanwhile, the villagers of Lekanai in Gau experienced a huge shock this morning after huge waves entered the village this morning.

Sanaila Nayacavakatini, a villager from Vione village said his village was alerted however no one was injured.

He added that the villagers are now at Vione a village on a hill and Nayacavakatini where they are safe from the high tide.

Nayacavakatini said that some roof tops of the houses in Vione are now flying away and the men are assisting the villagers to move to stronger concrete houses.

According to Nayacavakatini said that the toilets and kitchens are also damaged, but as of now most of the villagers are staying indoors, but he believes that the strong winds they are experiencing will damage their vegetation.

Onto viti Levu, in Rakiraki:
Police officers with officials from the Rakiraki District office are out monitoring the situation.

The Rakiraki District office has confirmed that 367 people from Nalawa and Saivou are taking shelter at 8 various evacuation centers.

According to the District office, not much rain has been recorded in Rakiraki however people are not taking risk and are moving to higher grounds.

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