TC Winston

SODELPA calls on PM to release cyclone relief funds

The President of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and suspended Parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Tui Cakau has called on the Prime Minister to release relief funds and help rebuild devastated communities and schools. In a statement, Ratu Naiqama who was speaking from Lavena Village in Taveuni, one of the many communities in the direct […]

Peni Shute

August 5, 2016 10:52 am

The President of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and suspended Parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Tui Cakau has called on the Prime Minister to release relief funds and help rebuild devastated communities and schools.

Members of the village of Lavena in Taveuni. (SODELPA)
Members of the village of Lavena in Taveuni. (SODELPA)

In a statement, Ratu Naiqama who was speaking from Lavena Village in Taveuni, one of the many communities in the direct path of TC Winston said it has been six months since the cyclone devasted the country and people are still in temporary structures.

NAIQAMA: “It has been six months since TC Winston devastated Fiji, and cyclone season is once again approaching, yet people are still in temporary structures and children are still in classroom tents. I am disappointed that the same dire situation is faced by other badly affected communities in Koro, Lomaiviti, Ra, Lau and Vanua Levu, six months after the devastating category five cyclone Winston, rebuilding hasn’t started.”

Ratu Naiqama said the Government must move quickly and alleviate the suffering.

NAIQAMA: “Where is all the donor assistance and why is government holding on to donated funds in the PM’s relief fund. Previous governments purchased construction materials through government supplies; but in 2016, hardware suppliers have been awarded the tender, but they cannot deliver and communities continue to suffer.”

Ratu Naiqama noted the progress in Vuma where the Israeli government and NGO volunteers rebuilt homes very quickly.

NAIQAMA: “It is heartening and we congratulate the people of Vuma, and is it possible for our military engineers to be deployed in a similar manner in the other affected parts of Fiji, we just have to start somewhere?”

Ratu Naiqama said the government’s uncoordinated approach has resulted in a piecemeal rebuilding effort leaving many communities still waiting for assistance.

NAIQAMA: “While government continues to take out loans for road construction, a grand project that means little to those in dire need for basic shelter six months after the massive cyclone Winston. I call on the PM to have a heart for these communities still waiting for their homes to be rebuilt. I call on the PM to release the relief funds and explore the possibility of having army engineers to rebuild homes and schools rather than waiting for donors?”

Media reports reveal that the Ministry of Finance soon to be the Ministry of Economy said that there isn’t a breakdown available for the donations made by individuals and businesses.

Newswire has contacted the Ministry of Finance and they are yet to respond.

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