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Reddy Brings Smiles To Beqa Islanders

Reddy Brings Smiles To Beqa Islanders
Rukua Village Turaga-ni-Koro Orisi Cagilaba (left) thank the Minister for Waterways Mahendra Reddy for responding to his e-mail and visiting Beqa Island to assist on July 26, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
July 27
10:29 2018

Orisi Cagilaba was all smiles yesterday.

The 58-year-old Rukua Village turaga-ni-koro (headman) on Beqa Island could not hide his joy when he shook Minister for Waterways, Mahendra Reddy’s hands.

He emailed Mr Reddy less than a week go seeking help for the repair of their seawall, which had been eaten away by the sea because of climate change.

“I brought it up in our provincial meeting and other forums, but no positive response,” he said.

“I was pleasantly surprised by Mr Reddy’s prompt response to our plight. I thank him and his team that work will start soon.”

Mr Reddy with his team braved the cold and wet hour-long boat ride to visit four of the nine villages on the island.

He visited Soliyaga, Lalati, Nawaisomo and Rukua villages.

The technical team collected data and worked out a solution to stop the damage to the seawall.

According to the villagers, Mr Reddy is the first minister to visit Soliyaga and Lalati villages.

Soliyaga’s turaga-ni-koro (headman), 53, Pita Kauyaca said it was a historic day for their village.

Mr Kauyaca said: “The washing away of seawall because of climate change in last five years put us in the face of danger every time big waves hit the village.

“Big waves of two to three metres enter the village putting our lives at risk.”

Mr Reddy assured villagers that work on extending the seawall height will begin in the next couple of months.

“The Bainimarama Government is devoted to help the people in maritime areas so they can live a better life, they get better health facilities, better education for children, mothers to have financial support when the baby is born and support all families,” Mr Reddy said.    

He said some of the work of building boulders will be contracted out to the respective villagers and Government will provide the necessary technical assistance and resources.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa



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