25% Of Fijians Permanently Abandon Koro Island Due To Cycone Damage

918 people leave 'in search of better education, employment opportunities and better lives'

By Sikeli Qounadovu 

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 26, 2016) – More than 25 per cent of Koro islanders have left the island in search of better lives after Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston devastated the island in February, a The Fiji Times survey revealed.

Nine hundred and eighteen of the 3579 people who used to live on the island have moved away in search of better education, employment opportunities and better lives.

The monster cyclone not only destroyed their homes and farms, but also their dreams and aspirations.

For many people on the island, they are rebuilding homes and lives, starting from scratch in what is known as the most trying times on the island.

At Naqaidamu, Namacu and Sinuvaca, more than half of the villagers have left for Suva because there is nothing on the island that they can fall back on.

Those who have left relied heavily on their farms and with nothing to fall back on, they have made the toughest decision to look for employment in urban centres in order to provide the basic necessities for their families.

Naqaidamu Village chairman Niko Komairavoka said they feared that all villagers could soon leave for Suva if assistance to the village was inconsistent.

"Because there is only a few of us left, what we have agreed is should there be any donation, then all personal commitment should be put on hold," he said.

"Whenever there is village work, like cleaning up or unloading of housing supplies, we would all come together and eat as a village, no one will go and eat again at home because food is scarce and we want to save whatever little we can."

Namacu Village headman Waisale Tuimaloku said everyone was working together in rebuilding the village.

"Whatever we have we share and we are grateful with what we have right now."

More than 100 villagers from Namacu are now in urban areas.

At Nakodu Village, village headman Alipate Tiko said there was fear that everyone could soon leave the village.

"We are running low on food, and I fear the village may soon be occupied only by ghosts."

Fiji Times Online.
Copyright © 2016 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved

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