Macuata project communities not spared by TC Yasa
Following an assessment by WWF-Pacific’s Fiji Community Development officer, Metui Tokece, the districts of Dreketi, Seaqaqa, Macuata, Sasa, Wailevu, Nadogo and Wailevu reported damages to infrastructure including utilities such as electricity, drinking water sources, damages to farms, and houses as major issues highlighted.
Tokece added that most of the communities in these districts still do not have access to electricity as well and have reverted to using solar powered and hurricane lamps and candles and whilst communities have mobilized themselves into teams; food, water and shelter security are the main concerns for many villagers now.
“For Nubunikavula village located in the Labasa tikina (district), the villages have quickly mobilised themselves to identify cash crops that can be saved and sold to purchase much needed relief items for the community. These cash crops included kava (Yaqona) which was harvested and processed on site in preparation for sale,” Tokece said.
Ananaiyasa Tuisaqalau, the village headmen of Raranibulubulu highlighted that his village had suffered losses to their homes which were partially damaged .
“We have organised ourselves into two teams, one for cleaning debris in the village and the other team for repairing homes,” he said.
“Luckily only five houses where partially damaged with roofs blown off, we have repaired some of the houses with whatever roofing iron we could save while some houses are still covered with tarpulins,” Tuisaqalau added.
Aseri Tagicakiverata, the headmen of Vunivutu village said that after suffering from the impact of TC Yasa, the heat experienced by many communities is quite intense.
“Some homes had their roofs blown away and everything is so dry after the cyclone,” Tagicakiverata said.
He added that as part of their recovery efforts, they have already started planting kumala seedlings and cleaning up their village.
Reports from coastal communities along the chiefly village of Naduri.
Tokece added that the villages of Sasa, Nabukadogo, Namama and Naqumu had suffered from storm surges,where the sea had lifted large volumes of sand, rocks and debris onto the village green even though damages to homes were at a minimal.
For the village of Nakawaga on Mali Island, three houses were damaged from storm surges.
He added that reports from Sasa village also showed that their coastline was littered with juvenile fishes such as Bumphead parrot fish (Bolbometopon muricatum), octopus (Octopoda), moray eels (Muraenidae) and crabs (Brachyura) that had died during the storm.
Fiji’s Great Sea Reef Community champion, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere highlighted that the people of Qoliqoli Cokovata, despite the circumstances, stand committed to ensuring that they sustainably protect their natural resources.
TC Yasa had inflicted extensive damage on Vanua Levu and parts of Viti Levu killing four people, damaging homes, livestock and farms; however, despite the challenges faced, Fiji’s Great Sea Reef community champion Ratu Wiliame has urged community leaders to work with their respective communities in rebuilding their communities.
“Let me firstly acknowledge the strong and powerful stand, we have taken, after TC Yasa left scars that have affected our families along the coast from Udu to Dreketi, I have never felt so proud to be from Macuata, for the very reason of the communities’ staunch resilience to rebuild.”
“During my site inspections, I travelled along the coast and visited farms and villages in Seaqaqa where families were busy cleaning and repairing extensive damages to their farms and homes, even communities along the coast were busying themselves with massive clean ups,” Ratu Wiliame added.
Ratu Wiliame has also called upon his people to take action and rise above TC Yasa as government relief and rehabilitation efforts continue in Macuata and other parts of the country.
“We have taken the lead to protect our marine resources through our resource community management plans and we must adjust ourselves to quickly return to normalcy, all in all we will continue with the same goals and vision since we are the new frontier.”
“Sainimili of Nabukadogo village said this ‘E maqa ni 'a vou a dredre ena ai’ to me and it means ‘this is not new it’s just a challenge, we have gone through tougher challenges and succeeded’. A befitting encouragement for us from Macuata,” added Ratu Wiliame.
WWF plans on rolling out its relief and rehabilitation assistance next week to affected areas in Macuata.