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From Tree Shelter to Temporary Shelter

Veniana Melania sits in the same spot that sheltered her and her grandkids from Tropical Cyclone Winston’s wrath for five hours in the dark on 20 February at Narau Settlement in Ra, Fiji.
Veniana Melania sits in the same spot that sheltered her and her grandkids from Tropical Cyclone Winston’s wrath for five hours in the dark on 20 February at Narau Settlement in Ra, Fiji.

Holding onto her grandchildren and son for five hours in the dark, under a tree, at the peak of the cyclone, was the worst nightmare Veniana Melania had ever experienced. Tropical Cyclone Winston completely destroyed her house in Narau settlement, a two-hour drive from the capital city of Suva. The 60-year-old grandmother of four, aged 16, 10, 8 and 2-years-old, survived the ordeal with the hope that things would get better.

The roof and the walls of Veniana’s house were blown away in the wind. “We just remained standing in a circle with nothing around us and with no roof over our heads. My four grandchildren were screaming and crying and my only concern was to save their lives somehow,” added Veniana.

“We were sitting under the tree from 6 to 11pm that night. It was a long hard wait, but I thank the Lord because we are still alive,” said a tearful Veniana.

After the Cyclone, the only shelter they could find was a tree about 150 meters from their house.

Habitat for Humanity Fiji was the first to arrive with emergency shelter kits to assist families in Narau settlement. Veniana received one of the emergency shelter kits, containing tarpaulins, rope, tools and a bucket.

Veniana said the aid received from Habitat was a new beginning for her. She explained. “We used the tarpaulins as walls for the house. I lost my tin house completely, so this assistance means a lot to us at the moment. It is keeping my family covered.”



 

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