STRUGGLING father of 11, Manueli Savou, has been without work since he retired from the Public Works Department almost ten years ago.
Since then Mr Savou earned the much-needed income by selling scrap metal to dealers but even that was soon stopped following a State ban to curb the increase in scrap metal theft.
Living with his children and extended family at Vunato Settlement in Lautoka, Mr Savou then sought alternative means of generating income like planting root crops.
But his new plantation was destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Evan along with his home, casting another cloud of anxiety over the Ra villager and his family.
Mr Savou told this newspaper that his family was struggling to put food on the table while trying to rebuild their home.
"We need help," Mr Savou said. But help could be scarce for Mr Savou and his family and others like him living in squatter settlements.
Government recently revealed that financial assistance would not be accorded to those living in informal settlements.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki earlier announced that housing rehabilitation works would be given only to those who were living on leased lands.
But Cdr Cawaki revealed that the State would do what it could to assist families that were affected in places like Vunato.
According to Mr Savou, assistance came in the form of supplies like tarpaulins for their homes.
"We appreciate the help given to us by government but it is not enough for us. We understand their stand to not help squatters but we are the ones that need most of the help.
"Some of us had our homes completely destroyed and we have been living in tents. It takes a lot longer for us to recover from something like this because most of us are very poor," said Mr Savou.
He said his home had its roof torn away by strong winds at the height of the cyclone.
"We went to an evacuation centre and tried to rebuild our home. We collected the pieces of timber that was blown away during the cyclone and we used that to put our home back together. We used the tarpaulins for our walls."