Lautoka Sustained Most Damage In Fiji From Cyclone Evan
By Mereani Gonedua and Sunil Sharma
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 19, 2012) – Lautoka was the worst hit by Cyclone Evan nationwide, confirms Fiji’s National Disaster Management office (NDMO) as two evacuation centers have closed with only 190 still active providing shelter to 11,680 evacuees.
Nadi was also affected by the cyclone, but the damage was not as extensive as the floods that ravaged the West in March early this year, said Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC) Director Manasa Tagicakibau. Damages were evident mostly to dwelling houses, he said. In an update to the media this afternoon, Tagicakibau said waters have receded and a 16-man team has been sent out to assist their counterparts in the West.
Most places in the West are still without power, but water supply has been restored. In an aerial survey conducted in the North, there were a lot of structural damages particularly in Bua, Udu and Cikobia. "Structural damages to dwelling houses meaning that most of them had their roofs blown-off," said Tagicakibau.
"In Vanua Levu, most of the basic essential services have been restored including power and water supply and clearing of roads," he said. Tagicakibau said their immediate focus now is to provide relief to the affected as directed by Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.
Meanwhile, two out of 230 evacuation centers have closed, both in the central division. No time-frame has been given when other evacuees will return to their homes, Tagicakibau saying it would be after all assessments are completed and damages fixed. He said assessment teams are still out in the field and will continue to provide food rations to evacuees. Discussions continue with the diplomatic corps and other organizations for assistance towards relief efforts.
The Ministry of Education has also advised all schools to assess damages to their respective schools and communicate this back to Assistance to relief efforts. Since Tuesday, offers of assistance have been flooding in with the New Zealand government committing FJ$220,000 [US$124,357] to relief efforts and the Australian government this morning pitching in with FJ$1.85 million [US$1.04].
The Fiji Development Bank has come forward to assist its clients who have sustained damages to property, business and livelihoods during the cyclone. FDB chief executive officer, Deve Toganivalu said FDB is now offering assistance for clients who have been adversely affected.
"All applications for a moratorium will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and affected clients are urged to contact their portfolio officers or the branch manager nearest them to begin the process. We are also open to any new applications for further loan assistance for the same purpose," Toganivalu said.
A delay in payment schedule, freeze on interest and interest only repayment are the beneficiaries which the clients will get. The Latter Day Saints (LDS) church has also has come onboard with a donation of FJ$21,000 [US$11,870] worth of food rations for cyclone affected victims. The donation was today handed to the DISMAC Office through donations by church members.
"These donations will assist people in this great time of need when there is no proper food supply and we at the church are always forthcoming to provide the support for those in need during such times," LDS Manager Service Centre, Taniela Wakalo said.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation has also come board to provide assistance. The ministry’s permanent secretary, Govind Sami said they will work together with offices of the divisional commissioners to identify affected individuals, families and ensure they are assisted. Assistance will also be provided to underprivileged children through the Care and Protection Program.
The Housing Authority has also advised all its home loan customers whose properties have suffered damages as a result of Cyclone Evan to immediately report the loss to their nearest Housing Authority Customer Relations Centre. Home owners will need to collect and complete the Insurance Claim form and return it no later than Thursday 17 January, 2013. The authority reminds all that damage must be over FJ$1,250 [US$706] to be claimable.
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