Build it yourself

CHURCHES and community halls which were destroyed or damaged by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston in late February will have to be rebuilt or repaired by their owners, the community members.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made that very clear.

From a report we have on page four of the prime minister speaking with some islanders in the Lomaiviti Group, Government can be seen to be prioritising what needs to be done.

Some of a more religious bent will say Government is wrong. They will argue strongly for the case of rebuilding and repairing houses of worship first before anything else. They will say that when we put God first, everything else which we will attempt will more or less fall into place.

Others will offer, as a counter argument, that God takes care of those who take care of themselves; so houses, schools and health centres first.

There are also reports of a village to be relocated and the prime minister clarifying to villagers the housing assistance scheme Government has in place to help those whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the strong winds, heavy rain and the storm surges brought about by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Also on page four, there is an article talking about villagers being overwhelmed by the support they have received and are still receiving.

Given the devastation they have had to endure, we can only imagine their gratitude for the assistance coming their way. To their thanks, we add ours to Government and all those who have given us a helping hand, some may be still doing so.

Thanks can be in various forms. The most obvious is words.

In addition to the words, it would be more meaningful if our actions matched our words. That way, those who have helped us, locally and from abroad, will know what they have given is being put to good use.

Given that resources, not only in Fiji but the world over are finite, we should always be looking at ways to help ourselves even before the next natural disaster strikes.

Builders and engineers can come up with better building standards and materials so we are better prepared for the next cyclone, flood, earthquake or tsunami strikes.

Leaders at the various levels of society can make sure there are well thought out plans in place and readily available to the public so we know what to do when the need arises.

There were even calls for us to consider using building methods of our ancestors for houses to fare better the next time around.

To that body of knowledge, practices and processes, we can definitely all contribute. That is one way in which we can all build.

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