Vendors at Seaqaqa Market are calling on Government to build a proper shelter as they have been selling produce at a temporary shelter since Tropical Cyclone Yasa. Salima Bi, 60, said she has been selling vegetables for more than 20 years at the same location. “When TC Yasa struck Vanua Levu on December 17, 2020, the temporary shelter was destroyed,” Ms Bi said.
“At that time, the vendors didn’t have money to rebuild the shelter and so donors gave us tarpaulin.” The Seaqaqa grandmother said because of strong winds and heavy rain, the tarpaulin was worn out.
Another vendor, Olita Tavoi said she has been selling eggs and fruits for 10 years and all this time she has been working under a temporary shelter.
“There is no public convenience for vendors and members of the public.
“Seaqaqa is a place where people usually stop over to buy food from vendors before going to Labasa, Savusavu and Bua.”
“I don’t understand why we women are deprived while Labasa and Savusavu Municipal Marketd continue to develop,” Ms Tavoi said.
Suruj Wati, 55, of Seaqaqa said relevant authorities and various Government departments had visited the market before, promising to do something about it. “While we are out of hurricane season, the Government should consider giving us a proper shelter,” Ms Wati said.
“We have been suffering for over two years and perhaps continue because where else can we go to sell our produce?”
Response from Council
Labasa and Savusavu Town Council Special Administrator Doreen Robinson said they have raised the matter to Government. “We are aware of the situation and definitely the market needs attention,” Ms Robinson said. “Hopefully something will come up in the new budget.”
Cogea Village in Bua is the first in the country to be a part of a community-led relocation project funded externally.
FCOSS secured a $3 million fund from Brot fur die Welt, a Germanybased Non-Government Organisation for this project.
Cokonaki Cogea literally translates to preparing, consolidating or revitalising Cogea and captures the essence and underlying objectives for people centered and community led solutions for climate change and natural disasters.
Houses will be constructed at the new relocation site called “Naro” in Bua.
The three general phases of project Cokonaki Cogea are community planning and consensus phase; community build phase and community resettlement and transition phase; and will involve the construction of 30 homes for Cogea villagers who lost their homes during TC Yasa in 2020.