Cyclone Cliff Hits Taveuni

If you are a reader of the blog "Babasiga" you know that Fiji has been have a rough rainy season, particularly in the "Babasiga" lands of Vanua Levu in the North which has been badly flooded.

A few days ago, Cyclone Cliff ripped through Fiji and this storm hit Taveuni as well. It is unusual for Taveuni to take a direct hit, perhaps once in a decade. But it does happen and it seems more frequently - climate change anyone? The good news on Taveuni is that there was no loss of human life. The bad news is mostly for farmers who lost entire crops of dalo, yanqona, and others.

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I received a report and some pictures from my friend "A" who lives in Taveuni Estates, which is on Taveuni's northwest coast. I offer them here, edited a bit for clarity. I also will just use first initials of people mentioned rather than full names. My minor clarifications are in italics.

A's On the Scene Report:

Here are some pictures of the damage after cyclone "Cliff" made a direct hit on Taveuni. Weather satellite showed it right on top of Matei yet the center of the island such as Soqulu (Taveuni Estates) probably had the most damage. We had no warning at all from radio or television. Many people are criticizing the authorities.

Many Fijian homes were destroyed along with crops. No real damage to any of our homes (in the Estates) except the "M" home under construction which had about 7 sheets of metal peeled back.

Cyclone "Cliff" had sustained winds of 80 kilometres per hour gusting to 130 kph!

The "G" property had huge tree fall down its driveway but no damage to any buildings. Will take the caretaker weeks to get rid of all remains of tree and stump.

My driveway took 3 men and 3 chain saws nine hours solid to clear so cars could get in and out. It might take 3 months to get rid of all debris. 60% of my garden was flattened.

The Coast Road was blocked to traffic in about 10 places between Soqulu (the location of Taveuni Estates) and town. It was cleared in one day.

P's Villa only had a million coconuts lying on the ground with palm fronds that were picked up the next day. He did not lose one tree! Lucky guy.

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D's house. A huge tree fell and missed his car by 6 inches. I haven't bothered to tell D since there was no real damage to the property and to let him enjoy and focus on his trip in the US.

Everyone's boats are OK.

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Wairiki Bridge still blocked and flooding 3 days after storm. The bridge is in danger of breaking up as water is beginning to erode road surface. The person running is on the bridge - most of Taveuni's bridges have no railings.

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One of two huge raintrees to fall over my driveway. (Our white puppy was killed by passing Taxi next day).

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Second tree to fall over driveway took out my phone line. Took 3 men and 3 Chain Saws 9 hours to clear path to house.

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Walu Drive just past my house going to V's was totally blocked for 2 days. The whole estate has broken trees
and flattened areas like a tornado went through.

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One hour after the Cyclone "Cliff" passed over at 2:45PM Wednesday 4th April. Notice my house is now completely visible when once it was hidden by gardens and trees!


Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks for posting the pictures and stories from Taveuni. The Fiji newspapers are very spare in the details. I'll post something that links with your post. I've only read what 'Aloha' put on the Fijiboardexiles.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I didn't realize your estate there was quite so large.

What a disaster...but it sounds like it could have been a lot worse. Time to count the blessings along with the costs.

Swinebread said...

Whoa, it seems like this kinda thing is just gonna keep happening more and more now... I'm glad there was no loss of life.

laminar_flow said...

Hey did you check out the blogger meet up, arranged by Digital Fiji?

Pandabonium said...

Wendy - I find the lack of "outer island" news very frustrating at times. Hopefully that will change as electronic communication improves.

Moody - could have been much worse, and I'm grateful for that, but I feel for those people who lost crops or houses. They don't have a whole lot to begin with.

My property isn't so big - I have 4 lots of about an acre each. The whole project - Taveuni Estates - used to be a plantation (Soqulu) and is very big.

A's driveway is long because it is a "flag lot" and the drive runs between other parcels up to A's land.

Swinebread - yes. It used to be a once a decade thing or longer on Taveuni, but seems half as long between big storms now. Or perhaps the normal path of the storms is changing, I don't know.

Laminar_flow - yes, thanks. I have a post ready to go on that, but the shockwave script Chris had on his blog stopped working and I was waiting for that to get fixed. I hope the meeting is a success. Wish I could go. And you?

ladybug said...

That's too bad. Of course, we didn't hear anything about it here in the states (perhaps if you knew about in the first place...).

It's always the regular folk that take the brunt of disasters, and destroying crops, plus trying to rebuild homes is hard. Hope that no more typhoons will hit the area for a long time to come.

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug said, "It's always the regular folk that take the brunt of disasters"

- ain't that the truth? (Katrina)

bonnie said...

Wow. That looks rough. Glad all your friends are OK (except for the poor puppy).

I second Ladybug's wish.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Bonnie.

Hill said...

Thank goodness there was no loss of human life. The loss of crops, vegetation and pets, however, can be devastating and my heart goes out to those affected. Despite the damage, I am simply stunned at the sheer beauty of the place. For us desert dwellers, this kind of green is almost unimaginable.

Pandabonium said...

Hill - I spent a lot of time in the high desert of California, so I can relate. But the desert has a beauty of its own. Still, the lush green tropics is what I love best.