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Gunu villagers left in shock but grateful to be alive

February 24, 2016 11:13 pm

On the Island of Naviti in Yasawas sits Gunu Village.

The damage of Cyclone Winston everywhere..

We arrived, one of the first to do so.

One of the villagers was evacuated by air after being seriously hurt.

Reijeli Vunibala, wife of the Turaga Ni Koro says more than 40 homes have been completely destroyed.

She tells us she almost died during the height of TC Winston..

‘’I saw the walls of my house tumble and in other areas badly damaged. All I did was cover myself with my blanket and lay in the same position waiting for my husband. My husband later came and took me, we went down to cross the flooded river and I prayed to God that if I had to swim to get to the other side, I would make it, all because I wanted to survive’’.

School teacher Varanisese Sakealevu also had a death defying experience.

Day 4 since TC Winston and survival she says is now a constant worry

‘’We went out to look into the village, it’s such a terrible experience. Looking at their houses, there’s nothing left, no food. Some of them have only the clothes that they are wearing right now, nothing left. We only have the things we were able to collect that night, our tinned food is all dented and all the sugar is wet but we are thankful and we are making use of it as there is no access to boats yet and we don’t know how long it will take for the rations to get here. We’re simply making use of the things that are available, the coconuts, the root crops that weren’t damaged’’.

The class 3 teacher breaking down in tears, her concern she adds isn’t for her but for the 160 students and their families that call this shell of a village their home.