As Cyclone Winston made landfall, Cayla Tikaram hid with her family in a cupboard and a mattress, praying and crying as the storm ripped the roof off her house, flooded it, crushed the walls and ripped the shutters off the windows. Debris flew through the air around them.

And as the storm bore down, the pastry chef at a resort in Rakiraki, in northern Viti Levu, tweeted throughout.

"The house is leaking and everyone's crying. Planning where to hide when the entire roof comes off."

"What do we doooooo. This is hands down the scariest point of my life."


Once the eye of Cyclone Winston had passed, the family emerged from their hiding spot and started to assess the extent of the damage.

"Can't even begin to comprehend how we survived. Every room of the house is shredded to bits," Ms Tikaram tweeted.

"The entire roof has blown off and walls crushed in. No insurance either fml. 100% one of those surreal 'it'll never happen to me' moments".

She went to go find her neighbours but their house was in matchsticks and there was no one.

On Facebook, Ms Tikaram said the cyclone was one of the most terrifying things she'd ever seen.

"We're going to be rebuilding and cleaning up a while. So, so eternally grateful we're all okay. Praying all my family and friends are too."