Residents live in fear of rising Vaisigano river

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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They are afraid and frustrated.

That’s the reality faced by families who live on the banks of the Vaisigano River.

On Saturday afternoon after a heavy downpour, the river burst its banks once again. 

After just a few hours of pouring rain, Tauvaga Farani, a 53-year-old mother of four from Vaisigano, was left with several life changing decisions.

She had to ensure her family was safe first.

And then she had to act quickly to move their valuable belongings to a safe place, away from the unforgiving currents which brought debris, logs of wood and other rubbish from inland.

Her house sank as the waters rose.

She said this is the second time in one year that her house has taken a swim.

“All the water that has managed to come here is from Leone,” she said.

“If we are slow to remove our valuable belongings such as brand new furniture, it will be ruined by the floodwaters. If the river burst and there is no one at home, we would come home to nothing.”

WATER LEVELS ALARMING: The Vaisigano river in full force at Leone. Photo/Misiona Simo
WATER LEVELS ALARMING: The Vaisigano river in full force at Leone. Photo/Misiona Simo

On Saturday, the flooding happened so quickly.

“I was having a rest and my family members woke me up, telling me about the rising level of the water. The floodwaters came into our house quickly. Before we knew it the water was already in our house.”

She explained: “If the river burst it comes two ways both from the front and back since the back is still under construction it has caused the floodwaters to enter our house.

“There is no way out for the water to go to. That’s why it becomes sdeep that it reaches your waist when you are walking outside.”

It has been more than 50 years since they have lived there and this has always been the biggest challenge and expense for them it is when it floods.

“There are 12 of us that live in this house and it is quite a lot of us. I live with together with my brother and his nine children, it’s a family house, which belongs to our parents that has passed on and left it to us.

“Every time the flood comes a new carpet for the house is needed and it does not count the many other valuable things that are ruined by the floodwaters.”

Tauvaga is concerned every time it floods because it does not just damage their belongings but carries debris from all over the place to their house.

“The biggest problem whenever it floods is that there is so much debris. They bring all sorts of diseases and smells to our house. It’s unhealthy.

“I am out here to sweep the rubbish away from our house because once the water is dried up then there would be so many rubbish on our compound.”

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