The Fijian Government, through the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) received a major boost to its rehabilitation works for Tropical Cyclone Ana today after receiving four new portable sawmills from the Australian Government.
The sawmills will be used by the Ministry of Forestry to convert fallen trees to building materials for affected communities.
In his remarks at the handover ceremony, Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management Honorable Inia Seruiratu said the donated sawmills and tracks would be a strategic asset to Government and would also assist in Government’s “Building Back Better” initiative for communities affected by the recent disaster.
“The Housing sector continues to be impacted by Tropical Cyclones – Since the last TC Harold, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Forestry and NDMO embarked a new initiative of salvaging damage logs. I am happy to report a total of 400 homes were reconstructed through this initiative,” Hon. Seruiratu said.
Minister Seruiratu also confirmed that over 160,000 people have been assessed, with over 5,000 residential homes reported to have been affected by the two cyclones.
He said to date, Government has distributed over 130,000 food ration packs across the country and another 30,000 Non-Food Items (NFIs) such as tents, shelter tool kits, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, water purification tablets, and water tanks to name a few.
“Government has spent more than FJ$4 million in our current response effort and we will continue to assist the most affected communities.” While addressing guests at the event, Australian High Commissioner to Fiji His Excellency John Feakes said the donation was made possible through the existing Vuvale Partnership between Australia and Fiji.
“For Bush Fire Support – those communities that the RFMF worked in over the six weeks when they were deployed to Australia will never forget the contribution that the RFMF made,” said Mr Feakes.
“It is completely in keeping of the vuvale partnership when one of us is in need of assistance, the other provides help and that I think lies in the essence of this partnership. I am pleased to be here to hand over these portable sawmills and it’s very fitting that it is happening on World Forestry Day and these sawmills will be used by the Ministry of Forestry to convert fallen trees into building materials for affected communities.”
In addition to the tools handed over today, the Australian Government had also offered humanitarian support towards our operations for TC Yasa and TC Ana to the total value of FJ$4.5million.