FIJI VILLAGERS PLEAD FOR GOVERNMENT

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RELOCATION
Storm-ravaged Wainigadru wants inland home

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 5, 2010) - Scarred by storm surges and floods Wainigadru villagers within Tawake district, Cakaudrove, pleaded for relocation when the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau visited them yesterday.

Wainigadru has been identified as one of the worst affected villages within Cakaudrove province after five-meter high waves swamped the seaside village on March 15 during Hurricane Tomas, washing away several homes and a shop.

Seventy-four-year-old Elia Rawena said villagers were scared of floodwaters that washed through the village from a small stream running behind it and the sea surges before it.

"We are trapped here in this valley and we want to move to the hills," he said.

"We will give all the natural resources that we have to the Government to help us move to the hills because Tomas almost claimed our lives."

Commissioner Northern Lieutenant-Colonel Inia Seruiratu said site inspections would have to be carried out by the Community Risk Analysis team from SOPAC to ensure the new site was firm.

"A challenge that we face is that in some cases villagers are undecided about moving to a new site because the new site is a burial ground or ancestral place and so forth," Mr Seruiratu said.

But Mr Rawena said for Wainigadru that wasn’t an issue because they were desperate to get out of dangers way.

"Move us now please," he pleaded.

Other Cakaudrove villagers earmarked for relocation include Vatukuca and Vunidogoloa.

 

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