Villagers worry for their lives
PEOPLE on devastated Koro, who are still living under tents after Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, are worried about their wellbeing, with two months away for the new cyclone season to begin.
Villagers who spoke from the island revealed they were yet to receive any assistance from Government to rebuild their homes and they were still being housed by the temporary shelters distributed straight after Category 5 storm struck on February 20.
“We are still living in tents. About 100 houses were damaged and so far only two have got their housing materials but not all they have requested for,” Nanise Viribale said from Nasau Village.
“November is approaching and we can’t be living in tents when the cyclone season begins.”
Tuatua Village headman, Laisiasa Tawakilai said people were now resorting to lean-to houses built from the roofing iron left behind by the cyclone.
“Forty-four houses were lost yet no one from the village had received any sort of assistance under the Help for Home initiative but heard that some people from other villages have already been assisted. We are worried as the cyclone season is nearing again and we need time to construct proper homes that will be able to withstand cyclones,” he claimed.
It has also been revealed that their tents are already wearing out.
“I live with husband, a daughter and my two grandchildren in a tent. Water is getting in now when it rains. We have no choice because we have nowhere else to go. We have dug drains around out tents yet the water still seeps in. When the sun is out, we ensure that everything is out to dry,” Mereoni Kaitani said from Nasau.
She said last week, she had to spend the night at another house when it rained.
“We are pleading with Government to hurry up with the assistance. We are worried that when the new cyclone season begins, we will still be living in these temporary shelters.”
Mr Tawakilai said people of Tuatua were also going through the same experience.
While no comments could be obtained from hardware stores in relation to the distribution of housing materials under the Help for Home initiative, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said while they were concerned with people still in makeshift homes and students still studying under tents, the delay was because of the shortage of hardware materials in the country.
He revealed at a Fijian Teachers Association meeting in Labasa that work would commence once supplies arrived from Australia and New Zealand.
Hurricane season runs from November to April.