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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Powerful Report on Sea Mercy Visit to Navuniivi Village, Ra District, Viti Levu

Navuniivi Village and the nearby settlement of NamoNamo are located on Viti Levu Bay in the Ra District on the main island of Viti Levu and experienced the eye of Winston passing over them. Viti Levu Bay is located just below Rakiraki on the map above.

DR1 Status Report:  Navuniivi Village and NamoNamo settlement 
By Per Eliassoni on BREEZE
18 April 2016

Hi John,

We are good, thank you. We are a bit tired of the bad weather though. Had some 40 knots of wind from TD17F and lots of rain two nights ago and the rain kept creeping in through the hull from the holes and cracks we have since Winston. 

Since the weather was what it was, we focused on Navuniivi village in Viti Levu Bay. The village had only 32 out of 73 houses standing (but all with damages) and the nearby settlement NamoNamo had only one out of 10 houses that made it. Viti Levu Bay had the eye of Winston and trees had fallen in three directions. Witness reports said that the wind first came from one side and then turned and hit them from the opposite side. The warnings before came very late and also people said they didn't understand what a "category 5" cyclone was. They had heard of knots and understood what that meant, but not categories, and in the warning there was a lot of talks around categories they say. This all resulted in many people, within an hour or two of the strike, still out doing their chores and then had to rush to their shelters when wind picked up, without having a chance of securing their own houses.

Their newly built cyclone shelter, the Community hall, lost part of its roof early, as did the church, in the cyclone when a whole building hit it. All the villagers that were in there then had to move down to a small room below, flooding with water, and winds trying to burst the door and walls bulging by the force. Six hours they had to spend in this hell hole, with screaming kids and crying and terrified mothers and fathers. The trauma from this incident seems to be worst with the little older kids in age 7-15 (appx) and the women. When we arrived we met a low and sad crowd of people. The days after, they received some well needed professional help sent out by the government. This will take months if not years to handle for some. 

Damaged Community Center

Do you see the lady at the base of these tree roots?
 We did a clinic there with health checks. There is no nursery in the village but they have one person, Lai, that helps people with first aid. We gave them a blood pressure barometer that we found at the warehouse, and Jan taught Lai how to use it and what to make of the readings. We also gave some basic medical supplies (band aid, soap, aspirin, etc.) to Lai. We helped the villagers to try out new reading glasses. The glasses were very popular since they lost everything in the cyclone and they happily yelled out "I CAN SEE". We also dropped off clothes, shoes, food, cooking oil and salt (they will not be able to get anything from their gardens for at least 2-4 months and were very happy to get some food), hygienic articles and six tarps (should have brought more tarps, they still haven't good roofs on their temporary buildings). 

The good thing is that now it seems like the other help organizations and the government are coming up to speed. This Friday they had a visit from one of the governmental medical teams, with a doctor, midwife and nurse bringing necessary medicine. Today a governmental organization was coming to do a big assessment for the rebuilding of the village (planned to start in May with help from the engineer troops).

We could have brought so much more to these people but now at least it feels like they are getting looked after. Having talked to the people from the medical team, it seems like this is becoming more and more true for all the affected areas, which feels really good to hear. Now it is time for rebuilding.

One thing this village will need, is funding to rebuild their Community hall/cyclone shelter and church which originally has been funded by themselves. They also would need funding for solar panels and electricity generation for the village. They paid the government a year ago to get a cable to the village and electricity installed in May/June this year, but now they have been informed that the electricity project has been delayed 2-3 years due to Winston.

They have been running an old genset a few hours every night before, to be able to run some lights, but the genset broke during Winston. It would be great if it could be possible to replace that genset and also add some batteries, solar panels, a charger and inverter. Is this something that would be possible to do through Sea Mercy?

Kind regards


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