NEWS

‘Ticking Time Bomb’

The fear of being buried alive haunts villagers of Nasegai in Kadavu when 12 houses are less than 10 meters away from a 17-metre drop from where the village sits.
11 Jul 2022 17:30
‘Ticking Time Bomb’
Josateki Vakacereivalu at the hillside where landslides often occur. Part of the church’s rooftop could be seen from the hillside on July 2, 2022. Photo: Josefa Babitu

The fear of being buried alive haunts villagers of Nasegai in Kadavu when 12 houses are less than 10 meters away from a 17-metre drop from where the village sits.

A village elder, Josateki Vakacereivalu, who’s been on the fore-front of their fight against the climate crisis in the village, said this as one of the houses was less than five metres from the latest landslide site.

“I always say that we live with this, we are living on top of a ticking time bomb,” he said with a worrying look.”

 

“We have taken measures to help protect our village where we have planted mangroves, and placed stones as a seawall to weaken the impact of waves hitting our shore.”

He said huge waves have managed to climb over the walls and hit its shore. Adding to this, they have also witnessed wave impacts getting stronger.

He said the waves were starting to reach their burial sites.

 

“These waves hit the soil in which our village sits on, this weakens the soil and this contributes to landslides which we are experiencing more often now,” he said.

“We would like to be helped and be provided for. We have done so much according to our capacity but now we need further help.”

“We never know, the next bad weather might cause another landslide and bury some of the houses.”

 

A team from the Mineral Resources Department visited the village in August 2017 to carry out detailed geotechnical assessment for the village and the proposed relocation site.

However, some villagers do not want to be relocated, instead want to counter measures because the village was their home for since it was established more than 50 years ago.

 

Relocation

Village headman, Tevita Uluikadavu, 37, said they have been advised by the Government to relocate.

“I’m waiting for the villagers to agree to this idea because that is the only option we have,” he said.

“Until they agree, we cannot move.”

 

Mr Vakacereivalu said the move was hard because the village has some of its sacred sites built by their ancestors.

“We need to do this but as I have said, we need help,” he said.

“We need to survive for our children and also for them to have a brighter future.”

He said that the youths in the village have taken the lead in dealing with some mitigation measures to fight climate change.

 

“We are exploring every option that we have to help us stay alive. We have been encouraged to build stronger homes further inland,” he added.

Minister for Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, has called on the people of Kadavu to build stronger homes that can withstand cyclones.

Mr Vakacereivalu hopes to find a solution to the problem before someone gets killed or ‘buried alive’.

 

Feedback: josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj



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