SUVA, 12 APRIL 2018 (FIJI TIMES) — A total of 8147 people on the island of Kadavu are in urgent need of food and water after Severe Tropical Cyclone Keni swept through the island, affecting all 75 villages on Tuesday.

Divisional Commissioner Eastern Luke Moroivalu said they were aware of the need on the island and his office was working with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to send relief supplies to the 2363 households on Kadavu.

Moroivalu said the biggest challenge faced as of yesterday afternoon was that the Vunisea jetty causeway had been washed out and the adverse weather was still an issue, however, he said government officials on the island had been mobilised to ascertain the immediate needs of the people.

“We still can’t give any figures as to how many houses are damaged but all we can say now is that a significant number of houses have been damaged.”

Moroivalu said a government team consisting of 50 to 60 representatives from all key agencies and government departments and ministries were most likely to leave Suva for Kadavu with relief supplies at the weekend.

“The jetty is damaged and FRA is working on it, so that when the boat comes, it can berth there, allowing the officials to visit the villages. We’re just waiting for the weather to clear up,” he said.

“If we leave Suva now and the jetty is still not ready, there is no point in travelling.”

Asaeli Sorovaki from Lawaki Village in the district of Nakasaleka, Kadavu said they were in urgent need of food and water.

“All our farms were damaged due to the strong wind and now we only have food and water to last us for the next two days.

“We are in great need of assistance, we need food and water,” Sorovaki said.

A total of three houses in the village were damaged during the cyclone and Sorovaki said they were doing the best they can to clean up the village.

“We had prepared well before the cyclone hit and the wind were just too strong, it destroyed all our farms and we’re left with nothing,” he said.

For the villagers of Dravuni from the district of Ono, village headmen, Aisake Buruo said after being informed by the office of the Commissioner Eastern of Severe TC Keni, they made necessary preparations.

He said he went around announcing to the villagers to start preparing for a Category 3 cyclone. “We set up the community hall as an evacuation centre. The houses that were not strong enough to withstand the strong wind were requested to take shelter at the village community hall,” Buruo said. He said by 3pm on Tuesday, they experienced the full brunt of Severe TC Keni.

One of the directors for Matava Resort which is on the island, Mark O’Brien said they felt the full brunt of the Category 3 storm.

“I think we hit the eye of the storm, we got the wind coming from everywhere, the cyclone hit around 3pm, and it got worse and worse for 2-3 hours and then at about 4pm, we had this whole family run to our resort because their house was blown away,” O’Brien said.

“Three of our bure were completely damaged and one of our boats sunk due to the huge waves.”

He has called on Fijians to urgently assist those on the island after the devastation caused by Severe Tropical Cyclone Keni.

O’Brien said children and women were the most affected and the resort was housing several families who had lost everything in the Category 3 cyclone.

“We’re looking after three families at the moment, but I know Vacalea Village lost up to seven houses and most of their houses were damaged as well,” O’Brien said.

He said most of their yaqona plantations were damaged and they were still trying to fix significant damage to their resort.

“Mainly just all kava, all the plantation of the farms is all ruined, literally all ruined,” O’Brien said.

“Even here in Matava, we have 300 banana trees, there’s a big garden so it’s all gone, finished. All the banana trees and all the mango trees and avocado trees are all gone.

“A man I talked to who’s about 80 years old said it’s the worst storm he had ever seen to hit this part of Fiji,” he said…. PACNEWS