Galoa Island Primary School To Be Completed On Friday

This is the only school on the island in Bua Province which was built in 1987.
13 Jan 2021 10:34
Galoa Island Primary School To Be Completed On Friday
Australian Defence Force (ADF) Officer in Charge of activities Lieutenant Ryan Mouws. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Come Friday, the Galoa Island Primary School rebuilding project will be ready, confirmed Australian Defence Force (ADF) Officer in Charge of Activities Lieutenant Ryan Mouws.

There are 20 ADF tradespeople and infantry officers involved in rebuilding the school after Tropical Cyclone Yasa made landfall in many parts of the North.

The team also includes nine personnel from Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

This is the only school on the island in Bua Province which was built in 1987.

“When we arrived two weeks ago on the island we saw it had suffered significantly,” Lieutenant Mouws said.

“A school building consisting of two composite classrooms and one office was completely destroyed.

“The other building classroom building, kindergarten, hostel and dining hall were partly damaged.”

The team is encountering many challenges however, they share jokes and meals to ease the workload.

“It was difficult to get the stores and equipment to the school as it is on a steep hill and it’s quite hot,” he said.

“However, it has been a fantastic experience.

“This is my first time working in overseas and with Fijians, in particular.

“I found it very rewarding and the people are very lovely and hardworking.”

The 23-year-old said they may leave the island on January 19.

Galoa Island Primary School committee member Sepesa Nabulewakula said they were thankful to the team for rebuilding the school.

“I haven’t seen the school yet but I am excited because I know they must have done a wonderful job,” Mr Nabulewakula said.

House damage update

Meanwhile, out of the 50 houses on Galoa Island, 37 were either damaged or washed away by Tropical Cyclone Yasa on December 17.

Galoa islander Watisoni Taukei’s house was one of those that were washed away.


“There are ten of us in my household including my daughter who is eight months pregnant,” Mr Taukei said.

“We all ran for our lives and the next day when we returned we recollected our housing items and rebuilt a house.”

Village headman Simione Makasui said: “We usually experience strong wind from the other side of island but this time it was unpredictable.

“We will never forget the trauma we went through that night,” he said.

“The people on the island survive on food from the sea and whatever rootcrops that were left after TC Yasa.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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