NEWS

River Projects Save Land, Livelihood in Naitasiri

“I am very thankful to the Government that the project will stop the erosion and save our land,” she said.
11 Apr 2019 11:35
River Projects Save Land, Livelihood in Naitasiri
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with the children from Wainawaqa Village on April 10, 2019. Photo: DEPTFO News

Saini Maramaniveikau had watched helplessly over the years as floodwaters washed away big chunks from their mataqali land into the Waidina River in Naitasiri.

At 67, the Wainawaqa Village widow, could not contain her joy yesterday at the start of a $984,000 project that would halt the erosion.

She praised Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama when he launched the Wainawaqa River Bank Protection Project.

“The nation is lucky to have a caring Prime Minister,” she said.

She said his Government had cared for everybody and especially the old people in the rural areas.

Her husband, the late Sireli Raloli from Cicia, Lau, was swept away by floodwaters while trying to cross the river many years ago when their six children were small.

“I am very thankful to the Government that the project will stop the erosion and save our land,” she said.

She said she was receiving Government assistance like other old people there. He said the help had made life a lot easier for them.

She said Mr Bainimarama was the first PM to visit Wainawaqa.

“Most of my land is on the other side of the Waidina River and we cross the river to reach it,” she said However she said this had changed after a Bailey Bridge was put across the river.

“The danger now is that the river has widened because of erosion and threatened the bridge,” she said.

She said the project was a timely intervention.

She said if the erosion continued, it would wash out one end of the bridge.

Mr Bainimarama assured the people of Wainawaqa and Nadakuni in Naitasiri of their security when the riverbank project was completed.

He told them that their homes, their roads and their livelihoods were increasingly being threatened by river waters.

“It’s making your community – a home you’ve known for generations– become unliveable,” he said. These protection works, he said, would give them back their security and allowed them to go about

their lives without living in fear of worsening floods.

The balance that has existed between the communities of Wainawaqa and the Waidina River he said would be restored. “This river will remain a source of water to drink, stay clean and support your farms, a source of food and a source of your livelihoods.”

The $975,000 Nadakuni project when completed would remove the threat from the Waidina River.

Edited by Susana Tuilau

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