Family braves cold for past 5 months

Emoni Tanatuicake and wife Silovate Roga in front of their tent at Draubuta, Navosa. Picture: JONA KONATACI

A FAMILY of six of Draubuta, Navosa has been forced to live in a tent over the past five months after their home was destroyed by the washout of stockpile material.

Emoni Tanatuicake, 65, and his wife Silovate Roga said almost every evening they went to sleep crying not knowing whether help would come their way.

With their children and grandchildren, they huddle up to find comfort inside their tent which measures about five by seven metres.

“At night there would be centipede bites or the children would be very cold, but I keep reminding them we do not know when help will come.

“If it does we are grateful but if it doesn’t then we have to build our own house,” Mr Tantuicake said.

He said he spent about $10,000 of his yaqona money to build his home which was destroyed.

“I tell them you see where we are at the moment, we are sleeping in the cold, we are not sleeping comfortably, it is our duty to see we get out of this situation even though it is really not our fault.”

With no shower, let alone toilet, the family has been forced to use a nearby river.

The stockpile material was left on the roadside following roadworks to the village which is located downhill. Chief of the yavusa o Emalu, Lemeki Toutou said heavy rain forced the stockpile to flood the village — destroying almost everything in its path.

“We now fear of another heavy downpour that may flood the village again,” he said.

Six houses were destroyed while 13 were partially destroyed when the incident occurred.

According to a statement by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), “damage was also sustained to the surrounding natural environment, compromising the village’s food security”.

“As part of its rehabilitation and recovery program, a team of disaster risk reduction officers from the NDMO, in collaboration with the Mineral Resources Department (MRD) conducted a detailed damage and risk assessment.

“Their assessment confirmed that the root cause of the sediment flow was because of the washout of the stockpile material,” NDMO said in a statement.

“Risk reduction measures have since been put in place to reduce further risks from the road construction. “The families whose homes have been completely destroyed will be relocated, and rehabilitated with the construction of new homes.

“The relocation site will first undergo a geo-tech assessment by the MRD to test the stability of the soil. Proposed sediment control measures have also been recommended by the MRD.”

In an email earlier in the year, the Fiji Roads Authority revealed the contractor of the road will be responsible for compensation to the villagers affected.

More Stories