NATION

Talks to Improve Settlement Living

Parveen Bala is in talks with the land­owners of Nanuku and Wailea settlement to map out ways of assisting those who informally resid­ing there. This came after residents’ constant calls
09 Dec 2017 11:00
Talks to Improve Settlement Living
Minister for Local Government Parveen Kumar Bala

Parveen Bala is in talks with the land­owners of Nanuku and Wailea settlement to map out ways of assisting those who informally resid­ing there.

This came after residents’ constant calls to the Gov­ernment to help solve the issue of improper disposal of rubbish, recurring floods and other unhygienic con­cerns.

The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Infrastruc­ture and Transport said he was looking to see how Gov­ernment could assist infor­mal residents.

Hundreds of families in the Wailea Settlement in Vatuwaqa live beside a riv­er and have been worried about their housing welfare and health after continuous heavy rains from Novem­ber.

Often times the area and eventually many homes are covered in rubbish that sweeps in with the floodwa­ters.

Ram Swarath, a resident, said this had been the case for more than 20 years now.

“Despite calls being made to the Government to help us relocate and improve our housing standards, no help has come so far.”

Surush Kaur, last month, watched her hard-earned groceries being swept away by the floodwaters inside her house one night.

The 55-year-old sells beans and peanuts in Suva. Her house was damaged during the rains.

“I sell bean in town and sometimes I get $10, $5 or nothing at all. That hard-earned money I use it to buy my groceries and it is sad that my hard-earned gro­ceries washed away when the water level rose,” Ms Kaur said.

Residents: Why we live here?

On the other hand, Mr Swarath who has been liv­ing at Wailea Settlement for 26 years said they have to make do with what they have.

“Whenever it rains and there is high tide there is a flood. We hope that the Gov­ernment can develop the area so that we can at least make better houses,” Mr Swarath said.

“I don’t have a lot of mon­ey so where can we go? We don’t have many choices.”

He explained that the fi­nancial situation of the res­idents at the settlement was never enough to improve or develop the settlement themselves.

The residents say that Gov­ernment intervention was the only way out to their life in the swamp. Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: arishma.narayan@fijisun.com.fj

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