Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji on 20th February 2016 – a Category 5 storm bringing with it winds just short of 300km/h, one of the most powerful cyclones in recorded history.
The southern half of Taveuni suffered a direct hit by the eye of the storm, which then moved westwards to Koro Island and onwards to northern parts of Viti Levu causing widespread destruction and leaving at least 42 people dead.
At the time we knew it was bad, but the damage we suffered was minor compared to local villages and coastal areas up and down the island, some of which were completely obliterated.
The videos below are our experience of Cyclone Winston throughout that day at our home in Soqulu, Taveuni.
Another 6 hours or so until peak winds are expected. At this time Titi’s sisters’ family house (a timber and roofing iron construction) had already been partially destroyed and they were sheltering with us.
We have all taken refuge in the office when we could no longer keep up with the flooding in the main house. Also, part of the roof had become detached from the main structure and there was a risk the whole roof might be torn off.
Still sheltering inside the office. Winds were around their strongest at this time as the eye of the storm passed about 15-20km south of us.
The winds beginning to calm and we return to the house and begin clearing water
Winds calming further, a check around the exterior of the house for damage
Tropical Cyclone Winston is moving off, a final check around for damage