THERE’S good news for people whose houses were damaged by Tropical Cyclone Evan in the north as the government has stepped in to assist them.
Divisional planning officer northern Alipate Bolalevu said officials would reconstruct houses that were partly or completely destroyed by the cyclone.
“We have allocated a certain amount of funds for the proposed work and we will spend it according to the extent of damage caused to the homes of these victims,” Mr Bolalevu said.
“We have liaised with the Fiji National Provident Fund and have stepped in to assist the victims. At the moment, we are building temporary shelters while the planning and costing of permanent shelters are underway.”
Mr Bolalevu said the construction of permanent houses would commence sometime soon.
FNPF chief executive Aisake Taito said in a statement: “In consultation with the Commissioner Northern’s office, FNPF has decided not to send a team to the worst-affected areas in the north as the government will assist with the reconstruction of these damaged houses.” The areas include the outer islands of Yaqaga, Galoa, Tavea and Kia in Macuata.
“FNPF consults with the National DISMAC and offices of the regional commissioners before inspection teams are sent to areas affected by the cyclone,” Mr Taito said.
“In the Western Division, FNPF is inspecting cyclone-affected areas to receive and assess applications for Natural Disaster Assistance from members. Members who qualify for this assistance should have partial withdrawal eligibility.”
Mr Taito said the maximum allowed for withdrawal was $1000 per household and the members should reside in affected areas as defined by DISMAC.
Mr Taito reminded members that those intending to defraud or make false claims with intent to withdraw their retirement savings would be taken to task.
“We have put in place checks and controls to help us determine the validity of the claims and we will not tolerate anyone attempting to take advantage of the situation.
“The fund clarifies that all members who wish to utilise their funds for the purpose of house repairs can do so under housing assistance approved grounds.”