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Climate Watch: Nabavatu Village Relocation Plans Bring Smiles of Hope

A new site has been earmarked but plans to move are yet to be confirmed until geo-tech studies are completed. The Nabavatu community is one of many communities across the globe internally displaced by climate change.
13 Mar 2022 15:30
Climate Watch: Nabavatu Village Relocation Plans Bring Smiles of Hope
Nabavatu Village

Jubilation was evident on the faces of women in Nabavatu Village, Dreketi.

Ever since Tropical Cyclone Ana made landfall in 2021, the villagers have been living in tents at the Assemblies of God Savadrua ground.

The category 3 cyclone brought tonnes of rain with it, which led to land cracks appearing across the village grounds, rendering the village grounds as “unsafe”.

A new site has been earmarked but plans to move are yet to be confirmed until geo-tech studies are completed.

The Nabavatu community is one  of many communities across the globe internally displaced by climate change.

According to a World Bank report, there could be as many as 143 million people internally displaced by climate change by 2050, if nothing is done to address global green- house gas emissions.

The meeting with the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism, and Transport, Faiyaz Koya, brought the villagers a sense of hope.

 

The women of Nabavatu Village, Dreketi, with the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism, and Transport, Faiyaz Koya. Photo: Laisa Lui

The women of Nabavatu Village, Dreketi, with the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism, and Transport, Faiyaz Koya.
Photo: Laisa Lui

 

The women were hopeful for good news about a substantive plan to relocate.

To date, 250 people are currently living in 43 tents at the church ground. They are optimistic about moving permanently to another location soon.

Nabavatu villager Filomone Tomu said they have grown accustomed to living at the AOG grounds. But more recently, the weather conditions have had an impact on their health.

He said the atmosphere was differ- ent inside the tents and the villagers are frequently falling sick.

On the day of the visit, villagers were happily distracted from their day-to-day obligations.

“The proposed relocation area is next to Sacadrua (AOG ground), and we believe that the Government is doing their best to address all the issues that we were concerned about, that is, the proximity to service facilities such as the health centre, Post office, school, shops, police, and access to transportation,” Mr Tomu said.

“Despite the living conditions, we are hopeful that we will eventually move to the new site and settle there.”

Mr Koya visited the new site for the village relocation and later met with the villagers.

“It’s been a while, but it is surely something that is important to the Government to ensure that the villagers are relocated,” Mr Koya.

“There is a lot to be considered be- fore finalising the relocation for the people of Nabavatu.

“There are a lot of boxes that we need to tick before the relocation takes place and we must ensure that they’re in a place where it does not happen again by ensuring geo-tech study takes place with the involvement of the Ministry of Lands, iTaukei Land Trust Board and the clan.”

Mr Koya thanked the support of the AOG church.

“They’re so fortunate that the AOG church gave them land to stay on temporarily,” the minister said.

“These are things that needs to be done carefully because they cannot be done at great speed so that the issues and the problems that they faced before never happens again.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi



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