Letters To The Editor, 6th April 2016

Rebuild it better Edward Anderson, Suva Cyclone Winston laid a swathe of destruction over Northern Lau and lands along the Vatu-i-Ra passage. Suva escaped with only minor damage. It could
06 Apr 2016 09:21
Letters To The Editor, 6th April 2016
Letters to the Editor

Rebuild it better

Edward Anderson, Suva

Cyclone Winston laid a swathe of destruction over Northern Lau and lands along the Vatu-i-Ra passage.

Suva escaped with only minor damage. It could have been much worse if the cyclone struck Suva with its full force.

I have been studying pictures of the construction of homes and schools in the worst affected areas. Why were some homes completely destroyed, others left standing in the same area?

It appears that many homes and some public structures were not built to resist cyclones. Most of the homes had short timber posts supporting a wooden floor, a rectangular framed main structure above that, and a peaked roof and roofing iron kept the water out. The walls are sometimes made of roofing iron and sometimes of wood. This structure is OK for the weight of the house and its contents, but it is inadequate for sidewise forces or lifting forces such as strong winds.

A rectangle is good for supporting weight, but only a triangle resists forces from any direction. The lack of diagonal bracing and steel tie plates to connect the main structure to the posts and the rafters to the roof, led then destruction of many homes. Roofing iron often blows away because it is fastened with widely spaced nails, not roofing screws. When the corrugated iron blows away, much of the diagonal strength is gone. The house will begin to break up. Keep the lid on!

Many cement block houses suffered a similar fate. Iron reinforcement would reduce the damage.



Job audit

Joe Smith, Pacific Harbour

Staff members from the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) with Eftpos machines in the Western Division are physically tracing farmers seeking unpaid rents.

Perhaps this new policy devised by the Board might pay dividends.

Similarly there should also be a job audit especially for regional managers whose tables are piled up with long pending files and holding up revenue.




Tukai Lagonilakeba, Nadi

It is working. A great many thanks to our Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, in his foresight to ask our international development partners and non government organisations that they adopt a Fijian school devastated by the Cyclone Winston.

Of special mention is Queen Victoria School (QVS) that has benefitted with the Indonesian government now finalising arrangements on key issues to adopt and fully reconstruct this boarding school.

It is a noble gesture and it will see our Fijian children benefit many folds from this opportunity and arrangements.

I have yet to hear a word of vina du riki to our PM and Mahendra Reddy from those ungrateful QVS Parents and Teachers Association and the Old Scholars Association.

Out of the total 42 primary schools damaged, our mates from Australia have opted to adopt 26 schools from the Western and Northern divisions with a budget of $1.6million.

Thank you to both governments and their lovely people for their generousity. Your countries have contributed tremendously to rescue and uplift Fiji’s education sector.


7s for Hollywood

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori

Many say that Hong Kong is the ‘Mecca of Sevens Rugby’.

Some people in Fiji believe that winning Hong Kong alone is more important than winning everything else. But this belief cannot be true this year as Ben Ryan has already correctly pointed out.

We have the Rio Olympics in August as our top priority where he needs his players to be in top form.

Defending the World Sevens Series is our second priority. Although winning Honk Kong is important to achieving the second priority, it does not hold the same significance in our attempt to achieve our first priority.

We can beat everyone in Hong Kong but still fail to qualify for the semifinals in Rio.

The Rio Olympics will be a totally different ball game this year. Many countries will send in their ‘Dream Teams’ and star athletes in various sports and Usain Bolt will be running for Jamaica. Even Manny Pacquo is hopeful of representing the Philippines in boxing.

To make the 7s rugby competition tougher, England, Wales and Scotland will now combine and play as Great Britain.

Star professional rugby players like Sonny Bill Williams, Akira Iowane, Brian Habana, Quade Cooper, etc are now plucked out of their Super Rugby teams to help New Zealand, South African and Australian rugby unions attempt for gold at Rio.

But Ben Ryan’s wish of securing the services of Nakarawa or other players like Nayacalevu or Nemani Nadolo is now just a dream. The Fiji rugby Union (FRU) and Ben cannot secure their release. Samoa and Tonga also suffered similar shortfalls.

But despite this already uneven playing field in Rio, Ben is confident that his boys will make us proud.

He believes that the true value of a team can only be measured from the sum of a team’s combined commitment and ability to work together smoothly and effectively. Not from the sum of the value of its individual parts.

If Fiji wins gold in Rio this year, it will be a perfect conclusion to a Hollywood blockbuster where Ben Ryan’s character starts with a unpaid coaching contract, then the 44-0 thumping of the Kiwis, the World Sevens Series win, then to Cyclone Winston and then finally to Rio.

Who knows? If properly directed, the movie may win an Oscar.




Narayan Reddy, Lautoka

Some towns are flooded and still we see people in town doing their normal things in flood waters.

I was informed that some businesses were forcing employees to move their stock to higher ground to prevent stock being damaged. What is more important, a person’s life or stock?

Many people have died during Cyclone Winston and I request the authorities to look into this before more lives are lost.


Bad weather

Kirti Patel, Lautoka

Bad weather is upon us, and after what we went through in February, it will be stupid not to follow the current weather situation.

Flooding is taking its toll and the heavy rain bands are making life difficult for our students. There is simply no point in students going to school and having to return home in our current weather conditions.

I hope the Minister for Education looks into this thoroughly and makes the right decision to keep the children at home unless it feels safe to send them back. This simply is not a joke.

The rivers and creeks have swollen and the strong currents are unpredictable.

We don’t want to see more damage and destruction this time around thus it will be better to take all the warnings seriously.

We simply cannot control the weather and showing laxity now will have consequences. We have learned a lot from Cyclone Winston and we should start preparing well in advance.

If the scenario changes and there is improvement in weather then good for all, but otherwise let’s be on our toes.

Let’s hope all goes well, and all parents, please keep a close watch on your children. It pays to be prepared.

Let’s pray for Fiji and its people. We simply cannot afford another destruction, especially now.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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