Implement disaster management committee in districts: Kunaika

Fiji Council of Social Services chairperson Sitiveni Kunaika. Picture: JESSICA SAVIKE

THERE should be a disaster management committee within each district that should be activated in times of natural disasters.

Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) chairperson Sitiveni Kunaika made this comment citing his experience of the 2012 flooding that occurred in Semo Village, Nadroga, where he had sought the assistance of authorities, particularly Police in that instance, but were unable to come to their aid because they were also caught in the flood.

Mr Kunaika said the NDMO and provincial districts were not activated at that time because the flooding had just started the previous night.

“I got a few boys, got into my car and went to a man who owns a boat and lives five kilometres away. So we got the boat and from 6am, we started transporting the villagers from Semo Village to a hall in Nabau Village and by 8am, everybody was out of the village,” he said.

“They stayed for three months after which I set up committees whereby one was assigned to go back to Semo Village and do the clean-up, one was assigned to look after health checks, and another committee was assigned to distribute assistance that was being provided by government.”

Mr Kunaika said what he learnt from that experience was that they needed to set up a mechanism to have people who could act immediately when there was a disaster.

He suggested the introduction of a disaster management committee to be included in the provincial council as a focal point of disaster response in their areas.

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