January 28, 2023

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Most villagers on outer islands stayed on higher grounds overnight 

Several people on some of the islands in the Eastern Division took shelter on higher grounds last night due to fear of storm surges.

Following volcanic eruptions in Tonga yesterday, several coastline communities around Fiji experienced storm surges.

People in the Lau group took the tsunami alert seriously, and with the help of village headmen and elders, they moved before dark to safety.

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Ledua Lasa of Vanua of Mua Levu Village in Lau says everyone was evacuated to the Mua Levu Village School, which is located on elevated grounds, and only started moving back to the village this morning.

He says a storm surge entered the village yesterday afternoon and villagers were told to move to the school.

He confirmed that the weather looked much better this morning.

Speaking from Naroi Village on Moala Island, Feoko Delailoa says they had the same experience, which left the elderly, children, and women fearing for their lives.

Delailoa says people were also advised to move to houses that are inland or those on higher grounds.

Delailoa says his mother, who is now 70 years old, says this was the scariest event she came across, especially the thunder-like sound from the volcanic eruptions and the storm surges.

Timoci Tiko from Navukailagi Village in Gau says it was during low tide yesterday when storm surges rushed inwards.

He says they were lucky enough as they have two channels in the village that took in these storm surges.

People also moved to farmhouses and relatives who were staying on elevated grounds until this morning.

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