Classes cut short

Women and children from Vuaki Village, Nacula, Yasawa head for the nearest water source near Matacawalevu. Picture REPEKA NASIKO

THE prolonged drought has taken its toll on villages and schools in the Yasawa Group with schools opening for only half day in an attempt to preserve water. At Yasawa Secondary School in Marou, Naviti, classes for about 220 students had been disrupted because of water supply issues.

The Fiji Climate Summary for August issued by the Fiji Meteorological Service revealed that 24 out of the 25 climate monitoring stations in Fiji recorded “well below average” rainfall during the month. School manager Simeli Savutini said some classes had been cut short to preserve water.

“Some of our water tanks have run out,” he said. “So we’ve had to have half day classes and send students home.

“We had to make sure that we managed our supply well before help comes.

“Our school principal has put in a request for Government to send water. Until then we will have to do with what we can and sparingly use the water that we have.”

He said the school also had a hostel which needed constant water supply.

“We have students coming in from all over Naviti.

“They stay at the hostel for the whole week before some of them return home for the weekend.

“If we don’t have water at the hostel, we won’t be able to take care of them.”

He said until the Government barge arrived at the school, teachers and students had learnt to make do with their scarce resources.

“We just keep stressing to the students the importance of managing their water supply.

“If we don’t, we will continue to have shortened school days and the hostel might even close.

“We are just waiting out this final term before the school year ends and we’re hoping and praying that help comes soon.”