Sawani Ex-Head­man Con­firms Talks On Re­lo­ca­tion Of Vil­lage, New Site Iden­ti­fied

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - FONUA TALEI SAWANI

For­mer Sawani vil­lage head­man Jo­sua Balemila said there had been talks and plans with the Gov­ern­ment for the vil­lage to be re­lo­cated to a piece of land be­hind the vil­lage.

How­ever they are still wait­ing for con­fir­ma­tion from the re­spon­si­ble Gov­ern­ment agency.

Mr Balemila said they hoped to have dredg­ing along the Waimanu River to deepen the river and to re­claim its banks.

He said ev­ery time there was a flood they also wit­nessed land ero­sion.

“In the last flood the Prime Min­is­ter came and saw the de­struc­tion and said that we have to re­lo­cate, we have iden­ti­fied a piece of land be­hind the vil­lage,” Mr Balemila said.

Mean­while the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of 1992 se­vere Trop­i­cal Cy­clone

Kina is still raw in the mind of sixty-three-year old Rai­jieli Cavuilagi Naiteqe of Sawani Vil­lage in Naitasiri.

Shar­ing her story in her home yes­ter­day, Mrs Naiteqe re­called the time they were evac­u­ated to Adi Cakobau School af­ter the Waimanu River burst its banks.

Mrs Naiteqe said when flood waters en­tered the vil­lage small chil­dren were loaded onto bath tubs and bam­boo rafts and taken to Adi Cakobau School for evac­u­a­tion. “When the Waimanu River burst its banks and the wa­ter flowed into the vil­lage, it started from the banks op­po­site the Adi Cakobau School and then it came to the vil­lage,” Mrs Naiteqe re­called. “The wa­ter was so high that it reached the roof of our house that we had been stay­ing in for 40 years. “We put some chil­dren in bath tubs and some on bam­boo rafts then they were taken to ACS. That was be­fore they built our vil­lage hall which is now used as an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre,” she said.

“The women were taken be­fore the waters came in and be­fore the vil­lage was flooded. In­side the vil­lage when the flood waters came it brought with it wooden logs and dead an­i­mals and dumped them in the vil­lage,”

Now in her newly built house on stilts Mrs Naiteqe shared that dur­ing flood waters rose up to her porch. “Wa­ter comes in from Soso River which flows be­hind the vil­lage with small con­nect­ing chan­nels flow­ing into the vil­lage and also from the Waimanu River. Be­fore other houses were flooded, our house was the first one to be flooded.”

She blames the chang­ing weather pat­terns and the ad­verse ef­fects of cli­mate change say­ing weather never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore are cur­rently be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced now. Sawani vil­lage has 75 houses and a total of 400 peo­ple.

Photo: Fonua Talei

The small creek which floods the vil­lage when wa­ter lev­els rise and meets with wa­ter from the neigh­bour­ing Waimanu River.

Photo: Fonua Talei

Sawani Vil­lager Rai­jieli Naiteqe re­calls her ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing TC Kina and Win­ston on Septem­ber 26, 2017.

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