NATION

Fact-finding teams depart for Ono-i-Lau

A team comprising officers from several government departments left Suva yesterday for Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa, in Lau, to conduct assessments on damage inflicted by Cyclone Gita. The team left on
19 Feb 2018 11:00
Fact-finding teams depart for Ono-i-Lau
Fiji Red Cross officials ready to board MV Iloilovatu bound for Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa, in Lau on February 18, 2018. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka

A team comprising officers from several government departments left Suva yesterday for Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa, in Lau, to conduct assessments on damage inflicted by Cyclone Gita.

The team left on board the government vessel MV Iloilovatu which was laden with relief supplies.

Also on board the ship are officials from the Fiji Red Cross Society’s emergency response team which has been assigned to assess damage and evaluate the assistance needed.

Reports from Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa last week says 10 houses were destroyed and 26 partly damaged.

National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) director Anare Laweniqila said the multi-sectoral team sent to Lau are to verify reports on the ground.

“They will conduct the assessment so that information is brought back to Suva,” Mr Laweniqila said.

“We have received reports from the village headmen stating that housing and agriculture are mostly damaged.

“There has also been damage to vegetation and root crops in Ono-i-Lau.

“However, in other islands, there has been little damage or no damage to crops.’’

Mr Leweniqila said the Australian Defence Force has conducted an aerial survey and data obtained from the flight has been provided to assist the assessment teams.

The aerial survey was concluded on February 14, he said.

“An aircraft that conducted the mission was a P3C Orion surveillance aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force base at Amberly in Queensland,” Mr Leweniqila said.

Commissioner Eastern Luke Moroivalu said Roko Tui Lau would be sending needed information to the National Disaster Office, in Suva.

“Government assessment team will need to conduct daily briefs and team leaders please ensure that work is carried out,” Mr Moroivalu said.

“You are visiting villages. Ensure that you respect village laws and dress properly in the village.

“Go forth to Ono-i-Lau and make us proud,” he said.

FRCS director general Filipe Nainoca said the society was sending a permanent staff member and five volunteers to distribute emergency packs. “Our value of assistance to Ono-i-Lau is worth $78,000,” Mr Nainoca said.

“We are sending non-food items as this would be useful to people whose homes have been damaged.

“Items that will be distributed are tarpulins, dignity kits, kitchen sets, hygiene sets, shelter tool kits, jerry cans, blankets and clothes pack.”

He said the team will see what assistance is needed in Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa.

“We offer psycho/social support also. After a cyclone people, mostly children are affected by the cyclone,” Mr Nainoca said.

“We also offer health and hygiene awareness, there are many other forms of assistance we provide. This is why we are sending a team to Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa to see the assistance they need,” he said.

The government and FRCS team will return from Lau on Friday.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj

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