THE government received about 3000 applications for help with house repairs as a result of the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Evan in December last year.
And Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki confirmed that approval for assistance to 1655 houses had been processed.
He said house repairs had started in Lautoka with work on five houses already completed.
"The Republic of Fiji Military Forces engineers have conducted the assessment and so far the government has approved construction and repairs to 1655 partly and completely damaged homes," he said.
"These approved houses are from Rakiraki to Sigatoka and those that have qualified for government assistance are those that have legal leases. The government will not assist all homeowners because most of these damaged homes are located in squatter settlements Cdr Cawaki explained. The government doesn't support the concept of rebuilding squatter homes since these settlers are illegally residing in these various settlements." Cdr Cawaki said the RFMF engineers were working closely with the Ministry of Works with regards to the house repairs.
Lautoka/Yasawa district officer Ruth Atu said contractors were hired to assist the RFMF engineers and the government with the construction and repairing of homes.
"Apart from the hiring of contractors, the government has also supplied building materials to house owners who wished to carry out their own home repairs," Ms Atu said.
"This is done to speed up the rehabilitation work as the government has other commitments with regards to this year's development projects."
Cdr Cawaki said the rehabilitation and house repairs were expected to be completed by the end of March.