Letters: Time to wise up or wash away

Wednesday October 23, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor
International storm-chasing photographer Geoff Mackley was there as Cyclone Meena smashed into Trader Jack’s in 2005. 19102213 / 19102215 International storm-chasing photographer Geoff Mackley was there as Cyclone Meena smashed into Trader Jack’s in 2005. 19102213 / 19102215

Dear editor,

It seems to me that quite a few people in Rarotonga have become complacent about cyclone preparedness.

 

It could be that there are many new people on the island and they may not realise that the Pacific ocean is prone to periodic cyclone activity.

For those who have been here longer, perhaps we have become complacent. Perhaps, that is because the last time Rarotonga experienced any cyclones was back in 2005 when cyclones Meena, Nancy, Olaf, Percy and Rae hit.

They were particularly fierce with Meena cyclone causing massive waves that swirled all along the Avarua and Avatiu harbour.

Waterfront businesses were badly affected including Trader Jack's waterfront bar and restaurant that was so badly damaged by waves as high as the roofline, that most of it had to be rebuilt.

The ever resourceful Jack Cooper operated a bar from a converted shipping container until his building was being rebuilt.

Nearby businesses also affected were Paulina's restaurant and the bar area now known as Rehab (it had a different name and ownership at the time). 

The latter business was under new management who were obviously completely unaware of the severity of cyclones.

While experienced business owners were loading their stock into shipping containers and taken inland, the inexperienced new owners’ only response to the cyclone warning was to stack their liquor on higher shelves. 

Well, the inevitable result was that the huge waves swept through their bar and the liquor bottles floated away and those who found the bottles certainly did not return them.

Perhaps, it would be a good idea to publish some photos of the Avarua waterfront from that time to remind us all of the need to be prepared.

The Pacific Ocean is prone to periodic cyclones especially during the “hurricane season” of November to February-March each year.

The Met Office does its best warn us to prepare for the possibility of cyclones, and we must take it seriously.

Kia manuia,
Noeline Browne

 

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