Fiji Roads to Look at Villagers Plight

The authority has assured those living in Vunivau that their request will be prioritised.   The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has assured villagers of Vunivau in Labasa that their request
28 Jan 2017 11:00
Fiji Roads to Look at Villagers Plight
Marama ni Yavusa Qawa, Adi Losalini Maikali , (facing the camera) crossinng a flooded river near her home in Vunivau village, Labasa. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

The authority has assured those living in Vunivau that their request will be prioritised.


The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has assured villagers of Vunivau in Labasa that their request for a crossing will be added to their list of prioritities.

FRA chief executive officer John Hutchinson said to date, the proposed crossing was not up for construction in the 2016-2017 budget – because it is not on the Commissioner’s priority list of works.

However, Mr Hutchinson confirmed they would revisit this within their list of priorities.

He was responding to concerns raised by villagers of Vunivau, near Labasa Town, of their need for a better crossing or bridge – having suffered from flash floods over the years.

Mr Hutchinson said the FRA had established Memorandum of Agreements with all the Commissioners in regards to road and crossing priorities for the next three years in the respective divisions.

“The FRA is working to deliver on the agreed programme of works. If a road or bridge is not on the programme, the request is forwarded to the respective Commissioner for assessment and prioritisation,” he explained.

If a new project was to be included in the current year budget, Mr Hutchinson said some other project must be delayed to accommodate a priority.

He said crossings were designed to go under water during periods of high water flow and flood following heavy rain events.

Marama ni Yavusa Qawa, Adi Losalini Maikali, said students were most affected every time it rained heavily because they had to wade in knee-deep waters to cross the river.

Adi Losalini said students tend to miss school, and for emergency cases, they couldn’t cross.

She said they had approached authorities many times with promises to address the issue, but nothing was done.


Vunika Settlement

Meanwhile, drainage problem is a concern for the residents of Vunika settlement in Labasa.

Nilesh Prasad, 33, who has been a resident at Vunika for the past four years, said the area gets flooded every time it rained.

“This morning, (Thursday) my daughter who is in Class One did not go to school because of the flood,” he said.

When the Fiji Sun team arrived, the family were busy clearing away debris and mud on their compound. They were also trying to save their livestock from the flood.

“This is not a new thing because it happens whenever it rains, even if its light showers.  We have informed special authorities, but nothing is being done,” he said.

Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) general manager network operations and  maintenance Aram Goes had said earlier the FRA was only responsible for roadside drainage work.

“Residents are encouraged to keep all waterways and drains clear and free from obstructions, and pay attention to any small deviation of storm water overflow and attempt to redirect runoff to good drainage outlets,” Mr Goes said.

“Property owners should also ensure they put the correct driveway and culvert in place to prevent blockages and local flooding.”

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra



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