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Ono-i-Lau Villagers Were Prepared, Communicating With Ministry During TC Gita: Seruiratu

The Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu has high­lighted that during Tropical Cyclone Gita, the villagers of Ono-i-Lau were well prepared based on the information they had received. Speaking in Parliament
06 Mar 2018 12:13
Ono-i-Lau Villagers Were Prepared, Communicating With Ministry During TC Gita: Seruiratu
Ministry of Agriculture official inspects the damage caused by TC Gita in Ono-i-Lau. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka

The Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu has high­lighted that during Tropical Cyclone Gita, the villagers of Ono-i-Lau were well prepared based on the information they had received.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday Mr Seruiratu said he applauded the communication his ministry and the local community had prior to and after TC Gita.

“It was still possible for us to com­municate with the community par­ticularly the turaga ni koro (village headmen) in the respective villages of the affected islands,” he said.

“There were evacuation centres activated in the villages of Ono-i-Lau in Vatoa and Kadavu as well. About 1105 people moved into these evacuation centres.”

Mr Seruiratu said these were posi­tive lessons learned because most people were now responsive and taking seriously advice sent out by the ministry.

“A team went to Ono-i-Lau last month to visit villagers with rel­evant stores for assistance and focused mainly on water needs, food and carrying out the damage assessments which had been com­pleted,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Seruiratu revealed that 44.11 per cent was damage to root crops, tree crops, vegetables and livestock caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Coconuts or copra recorded the highest percentage of damage at 84.16 per cent with an estimated value of $218,228.

Mr Seruiratu said based on its as­sessment on food security, the min­istry recommended that for the 57 per cent of the existing staple crops completely damaged, food rations for the next three months were needed. It was also recommended that the government assists all pig­gery farmers with fencing and feed.

The ministry will provide 800 kilo­grams of Tivoli (Rotuma) seed ma­terial to Ono-i-Lau,

Preliminary damage assessments indicated that damage was mini­mal despite TC Gita being a Cat­egory 4 cyclone.

Damage costs are being estimated at $1.27million with agriculture ac­counting for $0.32m.

In response to questions from the Opposition Mr Seruiratu stated that the ministry conducted train­ing for communities to be able to build homes that were damaged by Cyclone Winston.

“The security and safety of all Fi­jians is the primary concern of any Government and of course we en­sure that homes are built to stand­ard,” he said.

“We should also be aware of the fact that most of the homes in rural Fiji, the cost is from the home own­ers and in some instances govern­ment does subsidise,” he said.

“Wherever they are government subsidised, homes are built to standard.”

Meanwhile, the ministry will be tabling the damage assessments and rehabilitation options reports of TC Gita on Ono-i-Lau in the next Cabinet meeting.

Edited by Percy Kean

 

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