It will be the story of a life time, said 57-year-old, Miriama Ledua. The retired village nurse (Nasi ni koro) in an interview at Vuci Road, Nausori, yesterday shared the heartbreaking story of the tragedy that happened at Somosomo Village in Gau last week.
She said she brought a patient with her to Suva yesterday, who was seriously ill. It all started on Wednesday morning when a village man caught a school of Daniva fish. The man was one of the victims that died. “He caught a few of it which was not even a half a bucket full,” she said.
“I was scraping coconut when the man brought in the Daniva. I scooped up a handful of the fish because I needed to cook it for one of my sick patient. “I boiled the fishes with some leafy veggies in a small pot. When it was cooked, my patient did not want to eat. So my husband ate it, he had seven fishes.” Mrs Ledua said that she scooped some of it to one of the ladies who was a stroke patient in the village. “I gave her the food and all she ate was the leafy veggies and left the soup and the fish which the lady’s husband ate.
There were four fishes in the pot. “I did not see when the rest of the people ate and I did not know the time they ate. As for me I served my husband and the other couple during lunch hour.” In the evening at about 6pm when she was getting ready for the evening church service, another lady went up to her and asked Mrs Ledua to check on her husband because something had happened to him. “I went to their house and saw him with excessive mouth watering, I pulled his lips and he said it was numb.
At the same time another young boy who has been staying with this couple was in the same condition. So I told the lady that they have fish poisoning. “Just when I was attending to those two, I heard the Village headman (Turaga ni Koro) saying that a dog was also dead and the Church Steward (Tuirara) had also collapsed. “At the same time another man shouted ‘please help me’ (kere veivuke).”
Mrs Ledua saw what was happening and then hurriedly told the Village Headman that those people who were in serious case need to be rushed to the health centre at Qarani including everyone that ate the Daniva. There were altogether 21 of them. The Qarani Health Centre was a boat ride away. “Just before we reached Qarani, one of those man died,” she said. She said that she helped the nurse take care of the rest of the patients while she took care of the two serious cases. “They were given Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) Intravenous therapy/ drip. “The approval was given to us to take the dead body to the village that same night so we headed back, while the other two who were in a serious condition were admitted. “Upon reaching the village, it was around 1 to 2am on Thursday. One of those that went with us felt weak so I gave him more ORS but unfortunately he also died after few minutes.
“We wrapped his body and after a few minutes, we heard a loud cry, one of the two that was in Qarani had died as well. “After all that, I went home as I needed to have my shower and get some rest. But just as I reached my phone rang that the fourth man had also died in the health centre. “Their bodies were supposed to be taken to the Levuka Hospital but upon request of the villagers, it was approved that we burry them as soon as possible because of the condition of their body.”
They were buried on Thursday. Mrs Ledua added that the others were treated and are now well and fit. The youngest person that ate Daniva that day was a three-year-old child but he survived. She said that it was the first time fish poisoning like this has happened to their village. “From the time the incident happened till today, no one in the village has ever eaten fish, we are really scared, and are still traumatised,” she said. “Even the villagers nearby they are also living in fear, and it has become the talk of the island.
“We are still thankful to God that with the 21 people, only four of them died and not all,” said Mrs Ledua.
Source: Fiji Sun