Editorial: Something to think about

Samuela Vuluma and Timoci Vuluma wade through the flood waters at Lomolomo village in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

There are many things we can discuss this early in the new year.

With heavy rain around the country inching out floodwaters, we are reminded about water safety.

We are also reminded about natural disasters and the fact that we are well into the cyclone season. This is an annual window that means we have to be on the lookout for cyclones and bad weather.

Now this hasn’t just popped out of the woodworks. We have had decades of experience and many reasons to be vigilant.

As flood waters slowly ease in parts of the country, we are reminded that we aren’t out of the danger zone yet. In fact this is the time for us to be proactive.

This is when we organise ourselves on the home front, touch on those evacuation plans with loved ones, sort out repairs that must be done, and address any niggling issues moving forward. Now in the face of that, we are reminded that we are also staring at the new Omicron variant and the Delta variant. We are certainly not immune to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So let’s stay alert. Let’s adhere to all the rules that will keep us safe, and let’s look after our loved ones. There is also another issue that must be raised this early as well – road safety!

Sekove Waqadau and Mereoni Vuniyayawa had many years of life before them. They were young, and they both loved life. They had a future of endless possibilities before them.

They were loved by their families. But in an instant, all that was taken away. They died young!

They were both victims of road accidents, around this time last year. It is difficult to understand why deaths continue to happen on our roads. But they do. Accidents happen because we allow them to. We talk about road safety every year, yet we have road accidents taking away the lives of Fijians.

It is an unfortunate part of the cycle of life in Fiji, and is something we have to fight every year. No one will know the pain, frustration, and great sense of loss like those directly impacted by an accident.

Families are torn apart, and grieve for loved ones who died. When all is said and done, only memories linger. This is the harsh reality of road accidents.

There is bitterness sometimes, and emotions can be overwhelming. There is anger at the senseless loss of a life.

So we are reminded about the value we must place on life, and why road safety is very important. Road rules serve as a guideline for all road users. They are designed to keep us safe on our roads. Our challenge is to adhere to the laws that govern road usage in Fiji.

Then there is common sense. We must respect the laws of our country, make an effort to follow them, and be considerate when out on our roads.

We cannot replace life. We cannot bring back life. However, we can protect, and value life.

We can choose to be considerate.

Death is inevitable, but road accidents are senseless.

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