Climate Watch

Viseisei, Beqa Village Seawall Promises Still In Limbo

A provision of $1.7 million was allocated in that fiscal year to construct seawalls, groyne and wave breakers for villages and communities faced with the threat of coastal inundation and erosion. 
19 Dec 2022 16:48
Viseisei, Beqa Village Seawall Promises Still In Limbo
Viseisei Village headman Anare Tuidraki at the proposed site for the seawall construction. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

The wait has been long.

Climate impacted communities like villagers of Viseisei in Lautoka still wonder whether the construction of a new seawall will ever begin – or were the promises from Government just empty promises.

Viseisei Village is one of 19 communities included in the Ministry of Waterways and Environment 2020/2021 financial year construction of seawalls project.

A provision of $1.7 million was allocated in that fiscal year to construct seawalls, groyne and wave breakers for villages and communities faced with the threat of coastal inundation and erosion.

However, to date, no physical work has begun since its groundbreaking ceremony by Minister of Waterways and Environment, Mahendra Reddy in November, 2021.



Viseisei village headman, Anare Tuidraki recalls the groundbreaking ceremony for the Nature-Based Solution (NBS) Seawall Project. It was an answered prayer worth waiting for.

“It has been years that we have been reaching out to Government on our seawall construction and our pleas to at least have large boulders placed near the forefront to protect the village from the rise in sea level getting onto village grounds,” Mr Tuidraki said.

“We were told that the ministry’s engineers and the experts would start work immediately the following week, and if not, the latest it would be in a month’s time.”

Weeks have turned into months, and it has been over a year without any word from the ministry on the progress of the seawall.

Villagers were told to gather gravel, soil, and sand to help engineers when they arrive.


“We started gathering all these resources immediately after they left. But after a month, we noticed there was no communication from the ministry,” he said.

“Everything we have gathered by the seaside has all now been washed away again through the months of waiting.”

The village has since had two seawalls built by their forefathers. But with the strong changes occurring in sea level rise, villagers can only do enough for a temporary solution.

“At the moment, we are vulnerable in the fight against climate change, and we hope the ministry hasn’t forgotten about our requests,” Mr Tuidraki said.

“Sometimes, when we experience heavy rain or high tide, the water comes right up to the grave site. Almost three burial sites have being washed away since the 1970’s.”



During the Provincial meeting in September at Lomolomo village, no representatives from the Ministry were present to answer questions from the villagers.

Minister Reddy highlighted in his last visit to Viseisei that the Government would continue to assist communities that are prone to climate hazards.

Questions sent to the ministry regarding budget allocation delays in construction works and other matters remained unanswered.



The construction work for the 550-metre NBS Seawall will protect 165 households and 800 villagers from the effects of sea inundation and coastal erosion.

A woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said relocation was not an option for her family.

“Where will we relocate to? Our livelihoods are here, and we are doing our best with whatever resources we have to delay the impacts of climate change in our village but how long can we keep up with the wrath of nature,” she said.

“The idea of having boulders and a seawall will greatly help us and we seek government to look into this request of us,”


The mother of four believes her children’s upbringing in the village of knowing traditional skills such as fishing can only be taught when they are in the village.

“The effects of climate change will get worse if we don’t work together to fight it now or else, we will lose our identity and traditional knowledge,”

“We know of the allocation of the budget in building seawalls but if work is not done and there is no transparency or communication from the ministry then we have a bigger problem,” she said.

The 46-year-old hopes work will begin in the new year.



Nawaisomo Village is the largest village on Beqa Island, with 52 households and approximately 257 population.

Despite the nine villages facing the impacts of climate change, Nawaisomo Village is one of the three villages identified to be assisted with a 300-metre seawall.

Village headman Savenaca Vukicea said discussions have been ongoing since last year however, nothing has been put into action.

During the Provincial meeting in October this year, representatives from the Ministry of Waterways were present.


When asked about an update, the response was: ‘Se sega ni dua na tuvatuva e tiko me baleta nomudou bai ni ua.’.. (“There is no plans at hand with regards to the construction of your village seawalls.”)

Mr Vukicea said the response was disheartening to hear.

“We were later told that there really were no funds available to assist the three villages of Rukua, Soliyaga and Nawaisomo village and they would return with an update,” he said.

Till to date, the three village headmen have not received an update from the ministry and work remain pending.


“I worry everyday about my village and how climate change is affecting our surroundings. We have been stacking piles of rocks but that is not enough especially with how our village is located.”

Other villages in Beqa like Soliyaga village have worsened with the effects of climate change.

For the past 20 years, villagers have tried ways to stop sea inundation affecting the village freshwater spring.

The village depends on subsistence farming and fishing for survival. Efforts to raise the village seawall by 0.5 meters and repair broken portions will give villages a sense of protection and relief.



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