NEWS

Flea Market Fire Victims Seek Government Help

Vendors president Sisaro Temo and executives met Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya at Parliament yesterday to discuss the issue.
28 May 2020 16:03
Flea Market Fire Victims Seek Government Help
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (third from left), and Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya (fourth from left), with Flea Market stall owners and workers outside Parliament on May 27, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A delegation led by the president of the Suva Flea Market Vendors Association sought Government help for their members yesterday.

The delegation represented vendors who lost all their business assets in the May 22, 2020, fire. The fire destroyed the Suva Flea Market, and Value City store last week.

Vendors president Sisaro Temo and executives met Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya at Parliament yesterday to discuss the issue.

Mr Temo said close to 200 vendors who had lost their assets during the fire were without any source of income to meet their family’s daily needs.

He said 99 per cent of stall owners at the Suva Flea Market were women who were either single mothers or sole breadwinners in their family.

“We lost everything and basically the only source of income for many families who depend on the businesses,” Mr Temo said.

“Some families do not know where they will get their next supply of groceries from or how they will pay their utility bills when they are due.”

Nisha hopes for the best outcome

Stall owner Samsun Nisha is one of the many vendors who is filled with uncertainty and desperation.

The single mother and sole bread-winner had been a stall owner at the flea market for the past 13 years. Her income came from her tailoring business.

“I lost all my three machines. They were all industrial machines,” she said.

“I had worked hard to build my business for my son and I. It was the source of our livelihood, but that is now all gone.

“We hope we will get some sort of help from the Government to at least help us get back on our feet and be able to operate again.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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