Relief for Qamea

Oct. 3, 2017, 6:05 a.m.

Relief for Qamea

Relief and recovery works on Qamea Island have been completed, following a landslide last month that buried several homes and damaged farms and infrastructure.

Dreketi Village was the worst affected, with the landslide also destroying its local district school and health centre.

Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management permanent secretary, Loata Vakacegu said their team also conducted minor repairs to public infrastructure, and that Government would now focus on long-term rehabilitation.

“Geo-tech and land boundary surveys were conducted by the Mineral Resources Department and the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs for the long-term plans for Dreketi, which was the worst village affected,” she said.

Machinery deployed to clear debris will continue for the next four weeks on the island, located a few miles off Taveuni and home to rare portions of the country’s limited Freehold beachfront.

In Sigatoka, the China Railway First Group has begun dredging the Sigatoka River to improve the drainage of agricultural land, increase the flood discharge capacity of the river system and reduce flood damage.

This is part of a three-year project that plans to dredge 3.4 kilometres of the river, beginning from the river mouth to below the Sigatoka Bridge and remove close to 1.2 million cubic meters of silt and sand from the river bed.

Though the project has raised the ire of locals in Sigatoka and the surrounding Coral Coast community- one of Fiji’s largest tourism destinations and home to a large tract of rare beachfront Freehold properties- authorities say the dredging works won’t have negative environmental impact on the mudflats and reefs nor endanger marine species in the river.

“The socio-economic survey results showed 95 percent of village and community respondents supporting the development,” said Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary, Jitendra Singh.

China Railway First Group has also been previously contracted to dredge the main rivers of Ba, Rewa and Navua, where its CBDs and residential areas have all been inundated with floodwaters in the past.

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