Sunday, February 05, 2006

Living in a river delta

The consequences of building houses in a flood-prone area mean that every five years or more there is moderate flooding in some parts of Labasa. There are three rivers that often get flooded - Labasa, Qawa and Wailevu. During the past two weeks heavy rain has caused some landslides and flooding in the area. Here are news items from today's Fiji Sun. Maybe it's good to clean the pollution from the Qawa river caused by the Fiji Sugar Corporation. One time I went with relatives from Cawaira and saw many dead fish as a result of the pollution.

Family saved from floods


Quick decision by a farmer saved his family’s lives. Keshu Chand told the Fiji Sun yesterday he never regretted the decision to move his family to a Fijian neighbour as floodwaters rose around them. Hours later, the house, located on a river bank, was swept away. “It was raining heavily on Saturday afternoon when I decided that it was time for me to move my family to safety,” he said. The heavy downpour flooded the river and by Saturday night, the strong currents swept away his house. “We were lucky that we took heed of the warning and I made the right decision to move away to my Fijian neighbour.”
Duavata resident Jieni Burekama said it had been raining heavily in Labasa the last two days. “We were fortunate that there was no flood at Duavata as at the Naodamu Housing Estate at the Block 10 area,” she said. Heavy rain forced the closure of the roads at Seaqaqa, Bulileka and several places within the district. Meanwhile, traffic between Labasa and Savusavu has been affected since the landslide on Monday last week ripped off portion of the Hibiscus Highway near Lomaloma Village. Bus driver Shameem Kumar said the problem would not have happened if the Public Works Department had been consitent in its road repair programme.
“I’ve been driving for 12 years and in the past eight years, I’ve noticed the problem because I drive my bus almost every day,” he said. Lomaloma elder Sitiveni Mavoa said the problem was that PWD workers only fixed the road if the Prime Minister or a government minister was about to make a visit.

Villagers swim to visit hospital

Soasoa villagers had to swim 3.5 kilometres to visit their loved ones at the Labasa Hospital yesterday morning. Housewife Valeria Ralulu said her daughter and nieces swam to the hospital to visit their relative. “It was raining heavily so we decided to send my niece, Akeneta Boselekaleka, who was due to deliver at the maternity ward,” she said. “This morning (yesterday), the flood was there so some of the children had to swim to hospital to take some food for her.
“This is surely one of the worst floods to hit Labasa especially in the Soasoa and Vunivau areas.” Meanwhile, the polluted Qawa River burst its banks, resulting in flooding at the ground level of the Fiji Sugar Mill and the All Saints Secondary School ground. Resident Nitend Sabad said the mill was closed and there was water inside. “Areas close to the Qawa River are underwater from the heavy rain,” he said.

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