Replacing Cyclone Destroyed Housing In Fiji To Cost $67 Million

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

Disaster manager says small homes to cost $9,500 each

By Losalini Bolatagici

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 17, 2016) – Government will spend as much as $140.8million [US$67 million] if the option to build new homes to replace those destroyed around the country in the wake of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston is adopted.

And it is likely to spend more than this sum to repair homes that were partly damaged.

A total of 7042 houses were reported to be destroyed while 11,111 were noted as partially damaged after day 17 of assessments.

Yesterday, 25 days after the TC Winston struck, National Disaster Management Office director Akapusi Tuifagalele said they were promoting the 16 x 24 wooden structure in their cyclone rehabilitation program because "those small houses withstood the brunt of the past cyclones".

He said each of these houses would cost $20,000 [US$9,500].

[PIR editor’s note: On March 17, 2016 Fiji Times reported that ‘Private construction companies have been invited by Government to submit proposals on housing plans that can withstand strong cyclones such as Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston. ... Speaking this week at Nabukadra Village in Nakorotubu, Ra, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said better rural communities needed to build better housing structures. ... "We have asked private construction firms and builders to come forward with ideas on what kind of houses we should be building so that we could have better and stronger houses," he said.’]

The same building structure was used in the post-TC Evan rehabilitation in 2012. It took more than two years to construct and repair more than 1500 homes that were damaged and destroyed.

While touring the Western Division, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Government was exploring the option of providing financial assistance to individuals whose homes were destroyed in the cyclone.

Mr Tuifagalele also announced that Fiji would request more timber from overseas as the local available timber were not enough to cover the rehabilitation program.

"So far today, the Ministry of Forests has indicated that the timber we have in Fiji is not enough to cover the number of houses that will need to be repaired and also rebuilt based on the data that they have," he said.

"There may be request for this to our overseas counterparts but that will be for the future."

He said total cost of damage to the Ministry of Forests and Fisheries stood at $18.1m [US$8.6 million].

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