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Fiji Time: 5:33 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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Standard of living tops campaigners list

Nasik Swami
Saturday, April 19, 2014

ASPIRING politician Roshika Deo's "Be the Change" campaign team is working with various informal settlements to develop effective policies to address their standard of living.

In an interview, Ms Deo said access to safe, regular and affordable electricity and water remained a huge concern among most of the squatter communities.

"Sanitation in squatter settlements we visited still remained an issue with inadequate infrastructure and land accessibility," she said.

"The health of children living in squatter areas is becoming a growing worry among parents. There was a case of a child having dengue and then after she recovered from dengue she developed pneumonia."

"Their rickety shack which has been flooded several times is covered with water stains, surrounded by dark brown water puddles with industrial oil residues on top, mosquitoes buzzing around, a strong stench emanates, with children playing in the area.

"Accessibility to roads in some squatters is hindered during the flooding resulting in disruptions to their daily movements to work, school and health care."

Ms Deo said absenteeism from school was relatively high among children living in squatter areas.

"Some of the reasons generally cited was having no lunch to take to school, homework is not completed and being bullied/ridiculed at schools."

"A lot of the people expressed concern that they receive constant threats of eviction but they have nowhere to go. Land access and affordability, unable to meet the requirements for loan serviceability and personal security appears to be the most common reasons."