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Old Capital not spared by TC Winston

February 27, 2016 6:32 am

Ovalau Island in the province of Lomaiviti also suffered the brunt of Tropical Cyclone Winston a week ago.

FBC News visited the old capital Levuka which is known for its famous heritage sites and witnessed the devastation caused last weekend.

Buildings, schools, hospitals and heritage sites have been damaged by the Category five storm.

Lomaiviti Provincial Administrator Elimi Rokoduru says most parts of the island including Moturiki have been badly affected.

“The extent of the damage on the island is very high as assessed by our team. For agriculture there is 85-100% crops and vegetables damaged, in terms of water supply – most rural water schemes are damaged and our communities are going to rivers to fetch water and electricity supply is only restored in the town area to the hospital.”

The Cyclone affected all thirty-six villages – roughly making up eighty percent of Ovalau’s population.

Around 451 houses on Ovalau Island have been completely destroyed by Winston and the numbers are likely to increase when detailed assessments come in.

There are 8000 people on Ovalau and 6000 of them are taking shelter in 202 evacuation centers around the Island.

“There are another 350 houses that have roofs detached but I believe, if the structures don’t hold then these houses are also deemed destroyed or that number could increase so that’s roughly the total number of dwelling houses that the team has assessed which was damaged during TC Winston.”

Rokoduru hopes that by the end of this weekend, fifty evacuees will be able to return home. Assessments from yesterday have also confirmed that five heritage buildings cannot be repaired with numbers likely to increase.

“Most of our communities have been sheltered in dwelling homes, most of the village churches and community halls that was supposed to be used as evacuation center’s have been damaged and people are using permanent dwelling houses to take shelter. Some villages have 16 evacuees.”

Ration and relief supplies have started flowing into the Island for the mass population that have been affected.

Clean up has already started off in the town with more than forty soldiers and other DISMAC officials involved.