Erosion affects villagers

Mosese Vonovono shows the soil erosion beside the village of Toga, Navosa. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

NOTHING else worries villagers of Toga in the Navosa highlands more than the river embankment erosion that has been affecting their village for some years now.

There is great fear villagers might have to relocate in the future should things get worse and the erosion moves inland to the village.

Relocation is not and will never be an option for the 200 villagers as they want their future children to grow up in the same village location their forefathers used to enjoy.

The villagers’ hopes now rest on higher authority to look into the issue urgently.

Village headman Revoni Navatoga has pleaded with those in higher authorities that the issue be looked into and addressed accordingly.

The village on the upper Navosa region sits just beside the Sigatoka River and river embankment erosion has been a major worry for a couple of years now.

Every time it rains in the Navosa highlands, the villagers will always have to look at the erosion as soil gets washed away slowly.

Since this is the main issue that concerns the villagers of Toga in the Naqalimare district, the village headman said their plea was for those in power to look into their concern seriously.

“This erosion has been happening for many years and we are worried about our children and our future generation,” Mr Navatoga said.

“The issue has been taken to the district meetings and even the provincial council meetings and nothing has been done about it yet. We hope the issue will be looked into as the erosion keeps moving closer to the village.”

Mr Navatoga said their farms had been affected as a direct result of this because the river had diverted its way from its original path.

He added the erosion was just a few metres away from the village boundary and they were worried that as the country approached the cyclone season, there would be more damage.

He said they had moved their farms inland so it won’t be affected every time it flooded.

District officer Keiyasi, Navosa Jovesa Naqarikau said Toga Village was also on their list of Disaster Resilience Program.

He added they prioritise climate change effects according to risks and the right priority as of now are Keiyasi and Korolevu, also on the upper Navosa region.

He said they had started building retaining walls for these two villages before they would consider moving to Toga.

The elders of Toga are worried about their future generation.

They would not want them to relocate and move to another place in the future as their village is just right for them to live in.

Just like other villagers facing the effects of climate change, villagers of Toga are adamant there will be light at the end of the tunnel in the near future and their issue will be considered soon.

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