NEWS

Cogea Villagers Ready To Relocate

Maintaining a balance between climate risks and cultural heritage is a massive challenge and he applauded the foresight of the Vanua of Cogea for the relocation.
23 Jun 2022 12:00
Cogea Villagers Ready To Relocate
Cogea Villagers during the traditional welcoming ceremony in Cogea, Wainunu, Bua on June 21, 2022. Photo: Sampras Anand

Finalising a new relocation site for Cogea Village has marked the start of a new chapter in the lives of its people.

This is after years of surviving tropical cyclones and the inundation of floodwaters, leaving families deserted with homes either partially or completely washed away.

From the damage assessment carried out by the Natural Disaster Management team in the village following TC Yasa, 18 homes were washed away as a result of continuous heavy rain, high tide and flooding from the nearby river.

 

The new site which is an elevated piece of land is located three kilometres away from the existing Cogea Village.

Chief Guest, Acting Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, Jone Usamate, said the ground- breaking ceremony, on Tuesday, marked a historical moment in the lives of the villagers.

“It is the beginning, the birth of a new journey, the shift from the old to the new and the evidence that climate change challenges are real and impact all of us,” he said.

 

Acting Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, Jone Usamate, commissioned the new relocation site for Cogea Villagers in Wainunu, Bua on June 21, 2022.

Acting Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, Jone Usamate, commissioned the new relocation site for Cogea Villagers in Wainunu, Bua on June 21, 2022.

Cogea Village headman, Atekini Nairibuli, was overwhelmed with the life-changing ceremony because this would greatly address their safety during tropical cyclones and other natural disasters in the future.

Mr Nairibuli said it was not easy to leave behind the ancestral and traditional home of their forefathers for a new location.

“The decision to relocate was made to ensure the safety of our people, children and the future generations,” he said.

 

He said their villagers had already begun sourcing construction timber for their soon-to-be relocated houses while the rest of the building materials would be provided by the Government.

“Timber for the 24 houses is ready while timber materials for the other 16 households are still being sawn,” he said.

Mr Usamate commended the collaborative work of the relocation- process task force committee.

 

“It is not often easy to indulge in a relocation exercise,” Minister Usamate said.

Maintaining a balance between climate risks and cultural heritage is a massive challenge and he applauded the foresight of the Vanua of Cogea for the relocation.

 

Feedback: sampras.anand@fijisun.com.fj



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