Sawani Ex-Headman Confirms Talks On Relocation Of Village, New Site Identified
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.
The small creek which floods the village when water levels rise and meets with water from the neighbouring Waimanu River.
Sawani Villager Raijieli Naiteqe recalls her experience during TC Kina and Winston on September 26, 2017.