THE Japanese government has given $381,000 to assist in the reconstruction of the Naviyago Bridge in Lautoka and to provide a mini-excavator to the Nadi Town Council.
The projects will be implemented through Japan's Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Program.
Japanese Ambassador Eiichi Oshima said the reconstruction of the bridge was expected to provide relief to about 1000 villagers.
"At least three people have already drowned in the river this year," he said.
Mr Oshima said it would also improve safety as people no longer needed to take long detour to get to their workplaces and schools, nor risk their lives by swimming across the river.
He said the embassy decided to provide the Nadi Town Council with a mini-excavator through consultations with the council for immediate assistance.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said the reconstruction work would be contracted to the Works Ministry.
He said the estimated timeline for the project was three months.
He said the reconstruction of the bridge would bring back normality and relief to the lives of the people.
"Close to 1000 people from the different communities in the area will use the bridge," said Commander Cawaki.
Nadi Town Council's chief executive officer Nemia Tagi said the mini-excavator would assist the council in its drainage and cleaning works to minimise the impacts of flooding.