Brutal winds and torrential rain in the early hours of Saturday morning over a week ago sounded like ‘planes flying over dropping bombs’, says Kavera resident Tabitha Ahsin, who lost the roof of her home that night.
Opening the bedroom door in the dark she looked up and
realised the roof had gone and that rain was teeming down into her house.
“It was that noisy and windy I actually cowered and
cried,” Ahsin said.
Heeding the cyclone season preparation warnings, Ahsin’s partner had already tied down the roof, but the force of the wind was too strong and had ripped away the old iron roofing.
Ahsin called the police – one of the emergency numbers
she had seen on Facebook to call during a natural disaster – and was
disappointed in the initial response.
“The policewoman wasn’t very helpful. I was scared and
anxious and I refused to hang up. I persisted until I spoke to a policeman who
was more helpful…”
Police visited her home and looked at the damages and
later a government agency stopped by to do an assessment, “sympathised and left”,
“They didn’t really help me or say where to go or who to see for help for my roof, I had no idea who to ask either, that’s why I called…”
Encouraged by a friend, she contacted Teariki Heather
of T&M Heather Ltd.
“He was highly recommended because of his experience
and reputation in these situations,” she said. “I humbled myself and was so embarrassed
to interrupt him at his home… I told him my story, and immediately he asked
someone to go and check my home and take measurements of the roof.”
“I was overwhelmed because he was the first person who
knew what to do...”
Ahsin paid the deposit for the roofing iron and Heather provided the labour free of charge. Within two days her new roof was on.
“I’m so thankful for the help he gave.”
From her experience, Ahsin says the Emergency Response
team needs to be more proactive during a natural disaster, more awareness needs
to be put out to the public on who to call when there is damage to property
during a natural disaster, what help is available (even temporary) when property
has been damaged and a more proactive attitude from first responders.
She would like to thank her friends for their
tremendous help, and Teariki Heather. “Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings
and for the loving and wonderful people in my life.”
Ahsin is bouncing back with positive energy, continues
her Tamure dancing classes and is also known for her community sober driving
service since 2020.