Ana was at school when she first found out about the Cyclone. She was practicing her handwriting when the school principal walked into her classroom. Her principal told the class that a storm was approaching and there would be no school tomorrow, they should stay home with their families.
Ana remembers feeling sad about this news, she loved school and only had a few more days left before a long summer break. She did not know it yet, but she would be back in her classroom the very next night.
She packed her bag and began to walk home alongside her older brothers.
When she arrived home her dad and uncles were boarding up the windows of their home, her mother was busy in the garden, harvesting their ginger, cassava, and picking all the banana’s off the tree, even though they were not ready to be uprooted or picked. Her brothers were cutting down big branches from the trees and gathering their chickens into the coop.
Before a disaster, preparation is important. People were encouraged by ADRA to protect their homes, and harvest what they can as their crops can be destroyed. People were advised to remove any potential hazards such as larger branches and trees to prevent any further damage and keep any cattle and pets in a safe place.
The next morning, Ana was told to pack a bag. She was only allowed to take one toy with her, the rest of her bag contained her water bottle, matches, soap, clothes, and breakfast crackers.
She and her family then had to leave their home behind and walk to their nearest evacuation centre, Ana’s school.
Fortunately, their community had an evacuation plan, meaning they knew where their nearest evacuation centre was and were able to get their quickly and safely.
Usually, Ana was very excited to go to school, but today was different. In each classroom there are blankets and mattresses spread out where her desk used to be.
In the afternoon, the usually sunny sky is dark, and the rain starts to fall. Everyone is quiet, but the wind and storm quickly grow louder. Ana tries to sleep, but is too afraid of the storm.
When ADRA works in a disaster-prone community, we help communities organise mass evacuation plans and build structure and livelihoods that are resilient to disasters.
The morning after cyclone Yasa hit, Ana saw first-hand how ADRA helped her village.
On the walk back home, Ana saw roofs torn off her neighbour’s homes, walls had been knocked down, and debris was scattered along the streets.
Ana’s home was still standing but her garden was destroyed. All her mum’s vegetables that were still in the ground had been ruined, and some of the trees had been blown into the neighbour’s yard.
There was no electricity and the water from the tap was brown and unsafe to drink.
Ana watched as ADRA arrived in her village, her neighbour was given a building kit, this was filled with tools, materials, and cyclone strapping so they could rebuild their home stronger.
Her mother was given a hygiene kit, this contained soap, sanitary pads, toothpaste, a toothbrush, laundry soap, a 20L bucket, a container for storage, and a water filter.
Ana was able to collect water from the nearby river with the bucket and use the water filter to make sure the water was safe to drink.
While the road to recovery was still long, their immediate needs were met, and they were able to survive thanks to their preparedness and immediate help after the disaster.