Samoan student tells of Winston scare

A Category 5 cyclone that destroyed Fiji during the weekend has left a trail of devastation behind.

Cyclone Winston claimed more than 20 lives and as of today, the people of Fiji are slowly coming to terms with the damage done.

But it's not just the Fijians affected.

For many parents and families in Samoa, their hearts and prayers are with Samoan students studying there.

Hellene Ah Chong is one of them. 

A politics and sociology student studying at U.S.P Laucala campus, she spoke to the Samoa Observer about her ordeal.

“When we first heard about the cyclone, there were jokes going around with students wishing it would hit Fiji so that school would be cancelled,” Ms. Ah Chong said. 

“But when the cyclone turned around after hitting Tonga. we started to get scared that it might actually hit us. 

"I was eating at Southern Cross (Campus restaurant) when the security guards came and rushed all the students and staff home to prepare for the cyclone.

“I went to a nearby supermarket to stock up for the storm and it was hectic, everyone rushed the non-perishable goods and the lines were so backed up it was scary.”

For Ms. Ah Chong, the news brought back a familiar feeling .

“When we got news that the cyclone was bumped up to category 5, it brought back memories of cyclone Evan back in 2012,” Ms. Ah Chong said. 

“It was nerve-wrecking having to prepare for something like this away from the comfort of my family.” 

Then Saturday night came and so did the wrath of Winston. “It was nightfall when the storm was at its strongest and I couldn’t see much outside. I just remember that the wind was so strong and that the trees swayed in one direction and the rain looked like dust being blown in the wind.”

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