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Audio: Extreme weather is wreaking havoc on the lives of women farmers in Fiji
September 1, 2017
Sunila Wati arranges green beans and pumpkins at her farmer’s market booth in the town of Rakiraki. It’s almost all women selling fruits and vegetables here, and Wati chats with the market ladies in her row as she waits for customers.
When I meet Wati in the month of March, it happens to be the festival of Holi, which celebrates springtime. Indian folk music plays on a radio at one of the stalls, but underneath this festive appearance, Wati and the other women are struggling to survive. In February 2016, an extreme cyclone hit Fiji, and Wati’s home was among 30,000 that were destroyed. It was the worst cyclone to make landfall in Fiji’s recorded history.
“The roof and things in our house flew away,” Wati says. “The water flooded our home and ruined everything. After the storm, the mud and water rolled down from the mountains in landslides and destroyed our farms.”