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Island faces water crisis

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, October 28, 2017

NO rain over the past seven months has resulted in a severe water crisis in Yanuya Village on Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Group.

Students of Namamanuca Primary School, located in the village, have been struggling to meet their daily water needs.

Villagers are using water sparingly as the extreme dry weather conditions continue to dry up their only water source and wither crops.

The villagers rely on water from one borehole for washing and bathing and government carted supply for cooking and drinking which is stored in two concrete tanks which have a combined capacity of 30,000 litres.

However, the two tanks have holes on their sides.

School head teacher Matai Beci said the island received two shipments of water so far this year — one in July and the second last week — and this was barely enough to meet the needs of 500 residents and 162 students.

The situation on the island was highlighted to officials from the United Nations Children's Fund on Monday when they visited the school for an update on the severe TC Winston WASH recovery program.

Mr Beci said the location of the island contributed to it receiving very little rain throughout the year.

He said while the villagers were grateful for Government's assistance, the treated water from Lautoka took months to reach their shores as they were not the only affected school.

"Our main challenge is access to enough safe water," he said.

"We are trying to make do with whatever resources we have, but it is getting very difficult, especially for the students.

"To top off this challenge, our two tanks had holes on the sides which we managed to patch recently, but that is only a temporary fix."

Mr Beci said teachers had been working closely with students to minimise water use and to ensure whatever little water they had was put to good use.

He said when the situation became dire, families paid $40 for a return boat trip to Tokoriki Island, where hotel management there allowed them to fill containers with water at no cost.

"We are very thankful for this, but it is quite expensive and not many families can afford to do this."

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