Indonesia Soldiers Help Rebuild Fiji School

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

Historic Queen Victoria building damaged in cyclone

By Peni Mudunavonu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 5, 2016) – Indonesian Defence Force officials expect reconstruction work at Queen Victoria School (QVS) to finish by the end of August.

Battalion Commander for the Indonesian Contingent in Fiji Major Abdillah Arif confirmed this yesterday.

Maj Arif said they had between 30 and 40 containers of construction materials from Indonesia and they would also use some local materials.

He said 30 Indonesian military personnel had already begun with the reconstruction of the QVS school chapel.

"They would be joined by a section from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces next week.

"Another batch of 70 military personnel would arrive on June 1," Major Arif said.

[PIR editor’s note: On May 5, 2016 Fiji Times reported that political party ‘SODELPA says they continue to stand with the people of West Papua in their struggle for self determination, their show of support coming just days after a damning report on Indonesian human rights violations in West Papua was released. ... SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu made the comments yesterday as Indonesian soldiers arrived in Fiji to help with the rebuilding of Queen Victoria School in Tailevu.’]

In regards to the designs of the buildings he said the colonial masonic design of the main school block would remain as it was before Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston because of it is status as a historic colonial building.

But he said some buildings would be destroyed and rebuilt with new designs.

Major Arif said they would build a new two storey dormitory where the Verata, Rewa and Bau junior dorms, senior dorms and recreational rooms once stood.

He added the reconstruction of the dining hall and some other buildings were still on the agenda for discussion with the Fiji Government.

When interviewed the Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy said that the Ministry of Finance were the ones who were looking after the rebuilding process at QVS.

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