Cyclone ravaged farming families in Dawasamu, Deep Water and Nabilo in Tailevu who lost their homes, almost all their belongings and their crops, were left to survive on virtually nothing until relatives arrived with food rations.
“Even then we had no utensils to cook the food,” a tearful Mrs Vijay Kumar told Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry who met the farmers last week-end.
Mr Chaudhry accompanied by the National Farmers Union Treasurer Karam Bidesi, found the farming community struggling to cope with the immensity of their loss.
“Most had lost their household goods and personal belongings. They are not members
of the FNPF so they can’t access cash to buy the very basic essentials needed to even
cook a meal for themselves,” said Mr Chaudhry.
Winston was a terrifying ordeal for the community. The family of Phul Singh, his son, daughter in law and their three children escaped the fury of Winston for four hours crouched in the dark under the floors of their house as the roof and walls caved in around them.
Others survived huddled together in tiny bathrooms and toilets to escape the fury of Winston.
The four members of Vijay Kapoor’s family spent 10 days sleeping in the tray of their truck after their house collapsed. They later received an Australian aid donated tarpaulin to drape over their truck trailer to protect them from the rain.
Mr Darbar Singh a prominent Dawasamu farmer who suffered damage to his homestead and crops estimated at around $350,000, said it will be a long time before he will be able to recover from the disaster.
Singh who is approaching 70 said,” “I will have to think hard whether to continue farming or pack up and seek an alternative livelihood.
It will be difficult to continue without substantial government support. ”