Natural Disaster

2012 tragical landslide still traumatizes mother

December 1, 2022 6:10 am

 80 year old Losena Nai stands next to the memorial plaque as a villager looks on.

Life will never be the same for Losana Nai after a tragic landslide buried her youngest son and his family in Tukuraki Village 10 years ago, including her namesake.

The 80-year-old fought back tears as she recalled the day when the soil from a nearby hill tumbled down, burying her 38-year-old son Anare Nakula, his 23-year-old wife Mereoni Robe and their 18-month-old and 6-month-old daughters Losena Nai and Makelesi Matalau while they were sleeping.

Nai says she is still traumatized by the incident and is always fearful, even when there is a slight drizzle, although they’ve relocated to a new village site.

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“Look at that small hill, Several weeks ago, there was a heavy downpour here followed by a small landslide. The villagers laughed at me when I ran to our evacuation center on the hill. They told me to forget about what happened in the past—but I can’t. I will always live in fear because I lost my son, my daughter-in-law, and my granddaughters through a landslide.”

Several other villagers say they have just recently started to get over their fear of the rainy season in their new village.

This small village of just 11 houses in the mountainous highlands of Ba had been relocated by the Fijian government with funding from the European Union in 2017, making it the first inland relocation in Fiji.

The old village site had over 142 villagers, however, only 20 are currently residing at the new site due to personal reasons.

Meanwhile, more than 80 experts from the region are currently convening for a consultation on disaster displacement under the Platform for Disaster Displacement project in Nadi this week.

The discussions range from the challenges the villagers faced, and relationships with landowners at the new village site including the lessons learned.