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Families brace for high tide

Shalveen Chand
Sunday, May 18, 2014

IT is the second time this year when flood waters have come into homes in the shanty town settlement of Wailea in Suva.

Built right next to a river on land which previously used to be mangrove land, residents are well aware that even the slightest of rain means water-logged compounds.

This is reflected in the way the houses are built on stilts and posts, raised higher than the ground level, however things have been unpleasant for residents in the past two heavy downpours.

Ravin Singh, 42, has been a long-time resident of Wailea, and he believes that development along the river and the cutting of mangroves in Raiwaqa is causing water to flow back.

"This is the second time when the water has reached our home. The last time was in March during the heavy rain," he said.

"I think the water flow has been disrupted, but that's my opinion. As a precaution we have placed all furniture in the house above ground level.

"My parents who live in the adjoining flats aren't so lucky as water is in their homes, possibly because their house is lower."

Just 20 metres away, the main road leading into Wailea looked like a small river, and again children were at it in large groups — some playing and some just sitting in the water.

A resident of 38 years, Tevita Waqa said this was common whenever there was a flooded portion.

"It's dangerous but these are children in front of their homes and in full view of their parents," he said.

"And yes, this is the second time this year we are experiencing such a high water level after heavy rain.

"We are hoping that the government can help us as residents here are low-income earners."

Residents were bracing for the high tide last night, which was expected to swell up the Wailea river and with the heavy rain, cause more flooding.

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