Tropical Cyclone Keni could have claimed the lives of his wife and two children.
Alifereti Tainitakali yesterday described the horror brought by devastating winds which swept through his village in Ravitaki on Kadavu earlier this week.
The family was among hundreds of villagers on the island who were severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Keni.
Graded as a Catergory Three cyclone, it was fortunate it did not make landfall on the island.
It just swept past Kadavu late on Monday and during daylight hours on Tuesday.
But the strong winds that came with it were enough to inflict damage on property and farms on Kadavu.
Mr Tainitakali, 32, said he was at home with his four-year-old son and wife who had just given birth to their youngest one-month-old son, Josefa Qoro, when the incident happened.
Evi Susu with her one-month-old baby, Josefa Qoro, at Ravitaki Village
in Kadavu on April 15, 2018.
Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa
“It is the worst experience ever for my family. It was around mid-day on Tuesday when Ravitaki felt the first wind.
“The second wind came in even stronger, tearing down one side of our home, so I ran to brace the other side of the house but the winds were so strong.
“My wife and children were still in the house. So I brought two of my cousins to help me bring them out. But by that time the four corners of the house were on the verge of falling apart, the roof was blown off.
“Fortunately my wife managed to run out of the house with my two children and we took shelter at our neighbour’s house” he said.
Mr Tainitakali said it was a matter of life and death.
“On that day all I wanted to do was to save my wife and two children. I didn’t care about the house and everything in it. We only managed to save the clothes we were wearing.
“I could have lost them in the cyclone and I thank God for saving them,” he said.
His two-bedroom wooden house was completely destroyed.
“Everything was destroyed and now we have to start our lives over again. It’s really hard for us,” Mr Tainitakali said.
His wife, 27-year-old, Evi Susu described the events as a nightmare.
“For a woman who just gave birth like me it was the most dangerous experience ever. Just imagine it hit us during the day but if it happened in the night it could have been a different story,’’ Ms Susu said.
“We were still in the bedroom with my two children, when our house started getting blown off by strong winds. I just held my children and ran out,” she said.
The family are now taking shelter at a relative’s house as they try to rebuild their lives from scratch.