FIJI MINE TOWN FEARS THE BIG EARTHQUAKE

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By Charles Chamber

VATUKOULA, Fiji Islands (December 10, 1999 – Fiji Times)---Residents of Vatukoula are making no bones about it. They are dead scared of the recent tremors that have shaken the mining community.

What most fear, even though Emperor Gold Mining's general manager Martin Jacobsen has allayed this, is that the ground under them could cave in if an earthquake struck. The mine's shafts, on different levels, run from Vatukoula right through to Tavua towards Ba and other directions.

Tavua mayor Ramesh Lal said he was not sure whether the ground on which the town sat was secure.

Housewife Ana Racua, 37, said she lived in fear.

"When the earthquake struck on Tuesday morning, I thought at first it was an explosion because of the loud sound that came with it,'' she said.

"Everything on my shelf fell, and after my house stopped shaking violently, I sat down and prayed like never before.

"After that I opened up all windows and doors -- it was about 2:30 a.m. -- and sat awake till morning.

"What we think is, all these small earthquakes are the children but the mother and father quakes are still to come. That is our biggest fear now.''

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

 

TAVUA RESIDENTS BLAME EMPEROR MINE

SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 10, 1999 – Fiji Broadcasting Corporation)---Tavua residents, including its mayor, Rameshwar Lal, say they believe the earthquakes are the results of underground explosions at the gold mines nearby.

Earthquakes have been jolting parts of Tavua and Vatukoula over the past few weeks.

"We are just trying to get in touch with Emperor and have words with them because basically this is something new to the town council and I think also for Fiji.

"So we are just trying to have a discussion with them and see what (is) the best way people could be helped out.

"We want to know the areas that are dangerous."

However, Emperor Gold Mines general manager Michael Jacobson has dismissed the suggestion that the mine is responsible for the earthquakes.

For additional reports from The Fiji Broadcasting Commission, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources/Fiji Live.

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