Fiji Disaster Office Confirms Mismanagement Of Relief Supplies

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Police, military monitoring distribution of food rations

By Mere Naleba

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 7, 2016) – The National Disaster Management Office is aware of relief supplies for those affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston being mismanaged but has not received any formal complaint or notification from its officers on the ground.

NDMO director Akapusi Tuifagalele confirmed during the media briefing yesterday, that his office heard stories of people misusing relief supplies distributed to victims of the Category 5 cyclone.

"We have heard about food rations being mismanaged, but nothing formal has come from our teams on the ground. We are aware this kind of things Government does not condone," Mr Tuifagalele said.

He said the basic food supplies provided to Fijians living in affected areas is expected to last them a month.

[PIR editor’s note: On March 7, 2016 Fiji Times reported that ‘With most schools expected to resume classes today, evacuees sheltering in schools will have to move to other locations set up by the National Disaster Management Office. ... NDMO director Akapusi Tuifagalele said the priority for Government was to reopen schools that were damaged by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston and to have classes resume today. ... He said as of day 15 (yesterday) of the state of emergency declaration, the NDMO had 633 active evacuation centres set up around the country with 20,465 evacuees.’]

Vanuabalavu in the northern Lau Group is the exception with two months food rations.

This was made possible after the Kingdom of Tonga provided the island food supplies for another month.

"In terms of food rations, NDMO officers, police and military officers are monitoring distribution of relief supplies to all affected areas," he said.

"We have people on the ground, we have NDMO officials together with the military and police are monitoring and ensuring that not too much is given, not too less is given just to ensure that the communities are OK, and Government wants to provide what is right for the people."

He said as of day 15 of the state of emergency declaration (yesterday), 80 per cent of affected areas have received the basic necessities.

"The target was by today (yesterday), all affected communities to be provided with basic necessities," he said.

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