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Fiji PM visits cyclone affected area in Bua province and delivers relief supplies
02:33 am GMT+12, 22/12/2020, Papua New Guinea

It was an emotional day for hundreds of villagers in the province of Bua as they met with Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama who is leading the National Emergency Operations Centre (NDMO) emergency response team to Bua in an effort to distribute emergency relief supplies Monday.

The Prime Minister visited Buinikadamu Settlement, Naivakasali Village and Cogea Village Monday following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

A 76 year old villager from Buinikadamu Settlement in Bua is thankful to Prime Minister Bainimarama and the Fijian government for the immediate response following the devastation caused by TC Yasa. She stated “We thank the government of the day for delivering much needed food supplies since TC Yasa made landfall in our village”.

In Naivakasali Village, speaking on behalf of the village headman, 36 year old farmer - Ratu Manasa Raidruta was grateful to the Prime Minister and the emergency relief team for delivering the much needed necessity and food items to assist the villagers. He stated “The past few days we had to scrape the last of our food from our farms as most of our root crops were severely damaged during TC Yasa. We are sincerely grateful to Prime Minister Bainimarama and his team who are here today with our food supplies”.

In Cogea Village in Bua, a total of 18 houses were completely destroyed and swept away during TC Yasa. The village is vulnerable to rising sea levels, storm surges and extreme weather events which may be worsened by Climate change. A 36 year old farmer and father to three children, Paula Loli was one of the villagers whose house was completely damaged when a storm surge swept through the village on Thursday evening. He painfully recalls the night and the morning after as one of the most dreadful experiences of their lives.

He stated “On Thursday afternoon around 5pm, we started feeling strong wind gusts and heavy rain. We immediately evacuated our homes to higher grounds as we were closely following weather warnings broadcasted on the media. At around 8pm, the storm surge swept through the houses in the village located near the river bank. The strong winds and heavy rain continued till 12 am in the morning. The next day, our women and mothers wept whilst inspecting the damages left behind by TC Yasa. Our farms have also been completely destroyed and there has been a shortage of food. We thank God that no lives were taken that day and we would also like to thank the Prime Minister and his team for this timely assistance.”

The Head of Government also took time out to listen to the villagers’ concerns and reassured them that more assistance will be provided in the coming days. The Prime Minister also stated that despite their current state the people of Bua are resilient and will build back stronger than ever before.
 
Bainimarama while speaking to villagers commended them for their resilience despite being affected by TC Yasa.
 
“I know it has not been easy for the past few days after the destruction of severe TC Yasa in the North but I am adamant that as Fijians we will help each other to rebuild our nation.”
 
“I want to reassure every Fijian family that Government will assist those affected by TC Yasa.”
 
Cogea village headman Akini Nairibuli thanked the PM for visiting their village during this time of despair.  
 
“Today is a very emotional day for all us, we cannot express our gratitude to the Head of Government for visiting us today. It has been a difficult time for all of us especially for those families that have lost their homes.”
 
“We would like to thank Government for their continuous assistance throughout this week from the distribution of food rations, to the officials from the Ministry of Forestry for clearing the roads which are now accessible.”
 
Meanwhile, initial damage assessments continue in the Northern Division with members of the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) also providing assistance to relevant agencies with the distribution of relief packages.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS


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