‘Blessing in disguise’

SEVERE Tropical Cycylone Winston was a blessing in disguise, the people of Naweni in Cakaudrove were told yesterday.

Speaking during the opening of two new classroom blocks, a library and two teachers quarters yesterday, Reverend Ilimo Ravudi said if it was not for the disaster, the school would not have been upgraded to what it is today.

Even though people may have been devastated by the trail of damage left by the disaster, Mr Ravudi reminded them God worked in mysterious ways.

Officiating at the opening of the new school facilities yesterday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said people in Naweni also felt the destructive force of TC Winston, TC Tomas and Cyclone Amy before that, adding he did not need to share the scale of threat as a result of climate change.

“Unfortunately, the story of Naweni is a story that can be told far too often in far too many places in Fiji,” he said. “In fact, 95 per cent of schools destroyed by TC Winston were originally constructed without any building plans at all.

“My Government isn’t making those same short-sighted mistakes and as Prime Minister, I am not prepared to let your community, or any community in Fiji, remain stuck in that same vicious and traumatic cycle. The reality is that storms like TC Winston are only going to become stronger and more frequent in the years ahead because of the effects of climate change.”

Mr Bainimarama said that was why they were putting in the time and resources to construct schools that would last, to give students schools that they could count on — even in times of crisis.

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