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Fiji Sun

Supplement

Obstacles over the year

December 31
12:00 2008

Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. The trials and tragedies of the year 2008 will be felt by many as we look back on a lot of the difficulties that the country had to overcome. Such difficulties, hardships and tragedies have left a mark on our history, but we as a nation have survived them as we will survive all others that come our way.
The year began with a horrific hurricane that destroyed a lot of property in many areas. Unfortunately, this terrible piece of weather was only one of the events that would affect our nation.
There was also a steady increase in typhoid fever earlier in the year as well. Though cases could be treated, the Ministry of Health noticed that much of it happened in the Northern areas. A campaign was organised to educate the people once again about proper hygiene practices such as boiling all drinking and cooking water and covering food at all times and washing properly after using the toilets.
The number of bus accidents and bus fires that occurred during the year was disastrous. Many people were injured and some even lost their lives in these accidents that happened on our roads.
One of the bus fires in late August claimed the lives of eleven people, including a pregnant mother with her two children. The driver tried to stop the vehicle which was on its way to Nadi, but eventually realised the brake had failed and that smoke was coming out of the engine.
Buses were not the only vehicles that have had bad fortune on our roads. Over sixty people died on our roads last year. It is a tragic piece of truth that has affected many, especially relatives of those involved in the deaths.
Another tragic tale that will be remembered in 2008 will be the death of the young 12-year-old boy who was killed when a coconut was thrown at him at Somosomo Village in Taveuni. The lack of electrical power at Taveuni Medical Department prevented the boy from being x-rayed.
Fires during the year have also been many. Family’s homes, companies and other buildings had caught ablaze and were consumed by the flames. The National Fire Authority saw the great number of fires in our country and put together a report on them. They met last year at the Pacific Theological College in Suva to discuss the alarming increase in fires that happened during the year.
One of the most tragic stories was 23-year-old Malakai Ratubuli, who was killed in a sea of grain when the FMF grain silo in Walu Bay, Suva collapsed and buried Mr Ratubuli alive in October.
Like any year in the calendar, 2008 was not without its share of catastrophes. Flooding, lack of power and water and so many other obstacles from the death of innocent people on our roads to the number in criminal activities were noted. However, as a nation, we learn from these events and try to prevent them from being repeated and thus we will become stronger during this year of 2009.

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