While we are focused on the Coronavirus, Category 5 Cyclone Harold is raging Melanesia. Vanuatu’s Island of Santo, where the Brothers’ community is located, has already been affected. Jean-Marie wrote this morning telling me that he’d been able to make contact with Sant and speak with Br Bonaventure Tolack. While the winds are fierce and the rain incessant the Brothers are safe and secure. The current cyclone is similar to 2015 Cyclone Pam which was one of the most serious on record.
This morning’s online ABC News carried this report:
“More than a dozen people remain missing in the Solomon Islands, to the north-west of Vanuatu, after being swept from a ferry in rough conditions whipped up by the cyclone. Five bodies were recovered on Sunday during a search for the 27 people believed missing from the MV Taimareho. Three of the victims have been identified”.
Tragically, Br. Jean-Marie, Superior of the District of Melanesia, has advised that the Solomon Islanders mentioned above include the family of Abraham Haiuasi, the Deputy Principal of St Joseph’s Tenaru. Br. Jean-Marie wrote:
“On the boat were Abraham, his wife, three of their sons, their house girl, Abraham’s brother, his wife and children. They were heading home to Malaita. At sea they encounter rough conditions caused by Tropical Cyclone Harold. 28 passengers were swept overboard and these included Abraham’s wife, three boys, house girl and his brother. This morning we received news that rescuers had recovered the dead bodies of his wife, house girl and brother. There is no news about his three boys yet”.
Abraham survived and is with his extended family. One can only imagine the terrible sense of dread and loss. Please keep him and the people of Melanesia in your prayers.