Note: Whether intentional or not, there are times when our staff become involved in some great adventures, some of which they would rather not have had.
A few weeks ago one of our nurses, Joyce Dann (L&D) and her family were on a vacation in Fiji and were hit by a category five cyclone. Even though they all survived for which we are thankful and are doing fine, it was a terrifying experience. The devastation was tremendous and many lives were lost. The following is an “up close” report from Joyce with pictures of their experience during this almost unbelievable storm.
Cyclone Winston, a category five cyclone, was the strongest cyclone to hit the southern hemisphere in recorded history, and we were in the center of the eye. We were lucky. Most people had their houses blown away as they were seeking shelter inside, and had to face the furor of this storm. I can’t describe the force of those winds. We are grateful to have survived without injury. We were completely isolated for seven days by an unbelievable amount of limbs and debris. My daughter and I are both nurses but we were unable to give much help to the Fiji people.
We are so grateful for the contributions you and so many others gave to the people of Fiji. People live off the land in these isolated villages, and all of their crops were destroyed. It will be a year before the first crops can be harvested for sale, which means no money to buy tin to fix their roofs, that is if their houses are still standing.
There were almost no roofs remaining in most of the villages, and in the worst hit areas everything was flattened. I saw the boat that came in with food, solar lights, building and roofing supplies which were bought directly from the donations collected. The people were very appreciative, and in good spirits, as Fijians usually are. However you could see the exhaustion and sadness in their eyes. They lost loved ones and many were injured. They have also lost their homes, churches and schools. Without greenery, they are suffering sunburn and heat stroke.
Thank you so much again for your concern and donations, all of which are very much appreciated, not just by us but even more especially by these wonderful people who have been devastated by this tremendous storm.
Joyce, Russell and Emily Dann