Fr Jim Hoe SDB, who has been working as a missionary in Fiji reports the latest on the situation on the island nation a few days ago.
Just half an hour ago electricity was restored in our area since Tropical Cyclone struck the Fiji islands on Saturday (20 February).
In the early afternoon of 20 February, the winds began to intensify. By sunset it was terrifying to see the winds and rain bend huge trees, snap branches, rip roofs from buildings, tear through vegetation and dwellings.
Since the low depression developed into a cyclone about two weeks ago, Tropical Cyclone Winston showed it had a mind of its own, like no known cyclone. It moved south between Fiji and Vanuatu as a category 3 cyclone and headed towards New Zealand. Winston then made a sudden u-turn and started to move towards Fiji, then changed direction and hit the Kingdom of Tonga. It passed Tonga, and decided to make another u-turn, hit Tonga again… and made for a direct hit on Fiji. Meanwhile, Winston had now become a category 5 cyclone and Nausori and Suva were in its path, close to the eye. Then another change of direction when it made landfall and struck the east and northern parts of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levi. The destruction in these remote parts of Fiji was merciless. So far 42 reported dead, and many villages are wiped out leaving survivors utterly devastated. Suva had some damage but it cannot be compared to the wrath Cyclone Winston unleashed in other parts of Fiji. One of our close friends described Cyclone Winston as “the most un-behaved cyclone.”
At Don Bosco we lost a few trees, and debris littered everywhere. When the cyclone abated on Sunday morning, the confreres walked to the surrounding areas visiting families of our Sunday School students, supporters and friends of the Salesians. Even though Suva was without power since the cyclone struck on 20 Feb, we still had class at the seminary. Meanwhile, we intend to visit badly hit areas and see how we can assist the people to rebuild their lives and homes. Thanks to you and the many confreres for your prayers and concern for the people of Fiji.
Please click here to share your support to the victims of the cyclone in Fiji.