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Fiji Time: 12:41 PM on Sunday 20 April

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Waves erode island

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, December 28, 2013

BAU Island is getting smaller as a result of soil erosion caused by waves.

This has led to the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Affairs giving out a $400,000 contract to a local company to come up with ways to ensure further erosion does not happen.

Ministry of Rural and Maritime Affairs permanent secretary Filipe Alifereti said unlike Vunidogoloa and Narikoso in Kadavu, they do not want to relocate the village because of its historic significance.

"We were supposed to carry out the work on the seawall and the gabions in 2012 but Cyclone Evan caused us to divert the funds elsewhere," Mr Alifereti said.

"We do not want to relocate this village.

"You must be aware that certain villages had to be relocated due to the extent of damage cause by the sea.

"Bau is not the only location where we are working on such problems.

"Viwa Island and other smaller island villages are faced with the same threat."

Bau paramount chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau said this was not the first time the island had faced such a crisis.

"A seawall was built in 1982 and it has been 30 years since work was done on it," Ratu Epenisa said.

"Now only parts of the original wall remain.

"This is a constant reminder to all of us about the environmental changes that are affecting us.

"Climate and global warming is here and staring us right in our faces."

The ministry and the contractors are also working on reducing the impact of the waves on the side of the island facing the wind and open sea.

Bau island has a land space of 13 acres and much of the soil on the seaward side has been eroded.

The project is continuing and is expected to finish by March.