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Fiji Time: 6:51 AM on Friday 18 April

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$54.4m Evan bill

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, December 22, 2012

TEN provinces affected by Tropical Cyclone Evan suffered $54.4million in damage as the Department of Agriculture revealed its preliminary estimates yesterday.

Department crop extension director Uraia Waibuta said they were still in the process of finalising the confirmed cost with damage analysis and assessment being carried out on the ground.

"The $54.4 million is the estimated preliminary figure for 10 provinces in Fiji that were affected by the cyclone," Mr Waibuta said.

He said the figure was the total preliminary cost for agricultural farms and infrastructure.

"There is a separate evaluation for livestock and crop sectors."

He said they were also assessing damage on commercial farms like poultry farms, hydroponics farms for vegetables and others.

"We will be able to finish the field assessments on Sunday (tomorrow)," Mr Waibuta said.

He said some farms in the Western and Northern divisions were badly affected and needed serious attention.

"Crops in Ba were mostly affected in the Western Division. In the Northern Division, yaqona farms were also affected -— dalo wasn't really affected," Mr Waibuta said.

"Papaya and other vegetables were also greatly affected — the damage could also affect the export industry as most of our crops for export are from the north and west."

He said the department would confirm the final cost of damage after assessments were completed from the north and west at the end of this week.

The next step, Mr Waibuta said, would be decided after the assessment.

Meanwhile, the Fiji National Provident Fund confirmed it would assist members affected by TC Evan under the Natural Disaster Partial Withdrawal Assistance scheme.

Fund chief executive officer Aisake Taito said details of the assistance inclusive of requirements was being finalised.

He said they would make the appropriate announcement accordingly.

"Affected members who wish to utilise their funds for the purpose of house repairs can do so under housing assistance approved grounds," Mr Taito said.

He said FNPF sympathised with all those affected by the disaster and they were working with relevant authorities to finalise details of assistance to be offered to members.