Forestry sends team to assist with TC Harold housing rehabilitation
The Ministry of Forestry has sent out a team to assist with TC Harold housing rehabilitation assistance in Kadavu last week.
The housing rehabilitation assistance is part of Government’s collective efforts between various agencies including the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, the Ministry of Housing and Community Development and the Ministry of Forestry.
A total of 300 houses were completely destroyed in 48 villages and 586 houses partially destroyed in 52 villages by Tropical Cyclone Harold after it struck 75 villages in Kadavu.
Equipped with portable sawmills and chemicals to treat sawn timber, Forestry teams were in Kadavu last week to provide assistance.
Minister for Forestry Honourable Osea Naiqamu said the teams will be based in villages around Kadavu for the next two months in order to facilitate the housing rehabilitation program.
“Kadavu has one of the largest pine stocks in the country with 11 pine schemes and resources to start rebuilding their homes are in abundance.
We just need to have the pine logs sawn and treated well before those affected can start building their homes.”
“Government will not leave anyone behind and will assist everyone whose homes were totally or partially destroyed,” Minister Naiqamu said.
Honourable Naiqamu urged villagers to unite and work together in helping each other out during these trying times and also called on villagers to assist the Forestry team on the island.
Mokoisa village headman Mr Ata Meliki said there are a total of 44 houses in the village – 17 were totally destroyed, 25 partially destroyed and only 2 houses withstood the cyclone.
“At the moment we have rebuilt the homes that were partially destroyed as urgently people needed a roof over their head and a place to shelter in,” Mr Meliki said.
“Otherwise we are sharing with those that have yet to rebuild their homes. We have had extensive damage to root crops like cassava, dalo and yaqona plantations.”
Mr Meliki said the food ration distributed by Government recently is what they are surviving on apart from what they catch out at sea.
“We have a lot of pine trees that have been damaged and it is good to know that Government will utilize it to rebuild our homes.”
In Mokoisa Village in the district of Ravitaki, 73-year-old Leone Tawake could not hold back his tears as he described the events of Wednesday 8th April, 2020 as TC Harold made landfall in Kadavu.
As his hill top two-bedroom wooden home had survived Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston on February 2016, he thought he was safe.
“I thought that since our home withstood TC Winston, it would also survive TC Harold but I was wrong,” Mr Tawake said.
Mr Tawake who is wheel-chair bound said it was 10am and he and his wife were having breakfast at home when the roof of his home blew away.
“I was shocked and helpless but luckily my son and other villagers came to rescue us and moved us to safety,” Mr Tawake said.
Mr Tawake who now resides with his son in the village is happy that Government through the Ministry of Forestry is reaching out to assist villagers like him to rebuild their homes.
News that Ministry of Forestry staff had arrived on the island to provide much needed assistance in regards to housing rehabilitation is a welcome relief for the islanders.