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Let’s Build Fiji Stronger Together To Withstand Mother Nature’s Wrath

Let’s Build Fiji Stronger Together To Withstand Mother Nature’s Wrath
April 05
13:48 2018

In 2016, Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, the most intense tropical storm recorded in the Southern Hemisphere struck Fiji. It left 44 people dead and 40,000 homes significantly damaged or destroyed.

We must thank the Government for its strong involvement in the rebuilding of homes destroyed by cyclones, which is now an ongoing process.

The carpenters involved are reminded by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s message, “Build strong homes to withstand future cyclones”.

However, the rebuilding of homes is hampered by the lack of carpenters throughout the country.

So, we must acknowledge the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services, for its Rural Carpenters Training programme.

Just recently 30 participants from the Central Division completed a two-week ‘build back better’ rural carpentry training in Vatukarasa Village in the highlands of Tailevu.

The training, which is funded by the Government through the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services, intends to equip rural dwellers with skills and techniques to construct quality and durable homes.

The rural carpenters training programme is also aimed at addressing a demand for carpenters outside urban areas.

While closing the training programme at Vatukarasa, Permanent Secretary Meleti Bainimarama, said the Government’s intent was to raise the ability of homes to withstand cyclonic winds.

Majority of houses damaged by the cyclone were located in rural areas and that the carpentry training programme was an initiative to reduce damage risks to property and loss of lives.

Mr Bainimarama said the training is also an initiative to instill “build back better” techniques with those who were affected by past cyclones.

According to Rural Housing Programme manager Joji Waqamailau they have incorporated disaster risk reduction measures into the restoration of dwelling places.

They have taught the participants simple tips such as strappings along joints, bracings for the roofing structure, or extra nailing for cyclone proof purposes.

“In this way, we’re not only training carpenters for rural housing purposes, but we’re mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into our development initiatives,” Mr Waqamailau said.

A participant, Pastor Malakai Koroirara, 40, from Natavea Village in Naitasiri, said he was eager to be part of the training because he had some experience in small construction works.

“I am really glad for this opportunity and this will help me in my duties as a pastor. I’ve learned some tips in strengthening our homes to withstand strong winds and hurricanes,” Mr Koroirara said.

Participants were involved in practical exercises which included the construction of a teacher’s living quarters at Coloi Naivakacere Primary School.

They had learnt some big lessons in constructions like maintaining building standards and codes.




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