VILLAGERS of a district in Nadroga claim that people have died because access to medical help was hampered by poor roads and crossing conditions.
Koroinasau district representative Marika Tagicakibau said the villages of Baleinabelo, Vunayawa, Naivibuli and Sovi had no proper crossing and their pleas for the past 10 years had fallen on deaf ears.
During inclement weather the Tamunua river, which runs along the four villages, gets flooded and leaves commuters stranded.
Mr Tagicakibau said during floods last year, four people in the district who were ill died because villagers could not transport them to the hospital.
Yesterday, Mr Tagicakibau attended the public consultations on Fiji's National Development Plan at the Sigatoka Town Council hall in the hope of receiving good news on their decade long request.
"Last week we strapped a coffin on to a bilibili, had people hold on to a rope from both ends of the river bank and had people swim alongside the bilibili while floating it across the river to the village, so we could hold a proper burial for our relative," he said.
Naivibuli Village headman Simione Kuruilauce said late last year, they had called for an ambulance to attend to one of the villagers who was ill.
While the ambulance was able to cross the Tamunua river and pick up the sick villager, upon return the water level had risen and the ambulance was unable to cross the flooded waters.
"While waiting for the water to recede the patient died," he said.
"We don't want this to continue happening which is why we keep requesting for assistance."
Ministry of Economy acting chief economist Ovini Ralulu said they had registered the concerns of the villagers.
"We understand their position and we are aware of their requests," Mr Ralulu said.
"We checked the system and right now the only crossing that has been planned for in the coming year is in Baleinabelo Village," he said.
"For the remaining villages, these may be in the pipeline for the next five-year plans."