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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has handed over US$51,000 worth of equipment’s and tools to the Government of Fiji to support disaster recovery efforts in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Harold, one of the most severe cyclones to hit the South Pacific in recent years.
TC Harold passed straight over the islands of Kadavu, Vatulele and Lau group in April causing widespread and significant destruction, levelled structures, blocked roads due to fallen trees, caused flash flooding over low lying areas and areas close to riverbanks. Power outages throughout the affected areas made it difficult to immediately quantify the damage, disrupting communication interoperability, on most of the affected islands. Entire villages were destroyed. Homes and crops were damaged, and power lines cut.
UNDP in collaboration with the Government of Fiji and the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA Fiji) will be implementing the Fiji TC Harold Early Recovery Project in severely devasted communities in Kadavu, Lau and Vatulele focusing on Debris and Waste Management, Community Infrastructure Rehabilitation and cash programming to support livelihoods including food security.
The rehabilitation tools and equipment were handed over to the Chief Executive Officer of the iTaukei Affairs Board (TAB) and Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Meleti Bainimarama by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative, Levan Bouadze at the Fiji National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) warehouse in Suva on Friday 22 May 2020.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in providing US$201,000 to fund the procurement of equipment and the cash programming intervention for those affected by TC Harold in Lau, Kadavu and Vatulele. We are most gracious of this gesture of generosity for those in need,” said Bouadze
“In our communities, we have a concept that encourages communal ownership of ideas and dreams and this is manifested in the principles of ‘solesolevaki’. Our communities will utilise these tools to ensure that they rebuild their lives in the spirit of ‘solesolevaki’. The established platforms will monitor the use and maintenance of these tools to ensure that they are managed accordingly and within the spirit of ‘solesolevaki’,” said Bainimarama.
Some of the power tools donated included generators, miter saw, circular saw blade, belt sander, spade bit, jigsaw blade, drill bit set metric, drill bit set metal, orbital sander¸ beam level and crow bars.
He added, the venture “may be a first of its kind where we have this collaborated effort in supplying power tools to communities and this is also where we have the opportunity to lay the foundations of expanding into a consistent venture in the provision of tools and appropriate training to communities to strengthen their capacity in resilience to all forms of disasters.”
“They have endured a plight no one should experience and together we will “build back better” and be better than before.”
ADRA Fiji with the oversight of TAB will ensure the cash programming through livelihoods support programme involving community work is inclusive of men, women, children and those living with disabilities, a key element for sustainable development. The cash programming will provide a source of cash income to over 3000 households who have lost income and assets assisting them in meeting urgent family and community expenses.
3028 households, 1888 in Kadavu, 918 in Lau group and 222 households in Vatulele were severely affected by TC Harold and will benefit directly from this assistance, including 235 households with persons living with a disability.
In addition, UNDP has also set aside US$92,000 to work closely with Fiji NDMO to target the Poorest of the Poor segment in Kadavu, Lau and Vatulele, targeting beneficiaries of the Poverty Benefit Scheme (PBS) set up specifically to provide financial support to improve the welfare of poor households. The intervention entails a one – off two monthly top – up for PBS beneficiaries.
The TC Harold support is administered through the UNDP Resilience and Sustainable Development Team (RSD) team, Pacific Resilience and Sustainable Development Support project with funding support from the Australian Government and the Government of Fiji.
For more information contact: UNDP Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Advisor and RESPAC Project Manager, Noud Leenders, Email: Noud.Leenders@undp.org
RESPAC Communications Specialist, Andrea Waqa – Montu, Email: Andrea.Waqa-Montu@undp.org
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