FIJI VILLAGES HIT BY CYCLONE TO GET WATER SOON

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Yasawas and the Mamanucas supply out since December

By Ana Niumataiwalu SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 26, 2010) – In Fiji, villagers of the Yasawa and Mamanuca groups should expect proper drinking water supplied later this week says Commissioner Western Joeli Cawaki.

Mr. Cawaki said Viwa had been severely affected following Cyclone Mick in December last year.

He said low-lying islands had their water supply affected.

"We have contracted a private company to cart the water to these islands," he said. "Islands in the Yasawas and the Mamanucas are the only two places yet to receive assistance following Cyclone Mick."

Viwa Island's Naibalebale villager Siteri Tunidau said villagers have had to boil the water from bore holes and also rely on rainwater.

"This is unsafe and we are asking that water be delivered to the island as soon as possible," Ms. Tunidau said.

Naibalebale village headman Pauliasi Tunisau said they had not received any water supply from Lautoka since the cyclone.

"There was rainwater but it was not enough and our next source is usually the coconuts but most of the coconut trees are bare and we have already used what was on the ground," he said.

Villagers also have the added burden of health worries because they have no nurse.

"A nurse was to have been posted to the village after the clinic was constructed but there is still no nurse. Some children are suffering from diarrhea and we are worried the situation could worsen."

Villagers on Nacula and Waya are also requesting the relevant authorities to fix their water pipes.

Nacula chief, Turaga na Tui Drola Ratu Epeli Vuetibau Bogileka, said he had bought the replacement pipes and was promised that technical help would be provided.

"We don't need drinking water just our pipes to be repaired. I am aware that Viwa Island is in need of water supply and we hope the get it soon," he said.

Wayalevu Village headman Josefa Naqarakoso said only small water pipes were damaged during the cyclone last year.

Health Ministry spokesman Iliesa Tora said there had so far no reports of water-borne diseases from the Yasawas.

Mr. Tora said the Commissioner's Office had been told of the need to cart drinking water to some parts of Yasawa.

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