Villagers raise flood issues with Minister Reddy

Minister for Waterways Dr Mahendra Reddy officially commissions dredging works at the Labasa River mouth yesterday. Picture LUKE RAWALAI

POORLY maintained drains and congested waterways have turned Dreketi Village in Cakaudrove into a raft and boat zone during heavy flooding. The village’s development board chairman Osea Nateba told the Minister for Waterways Dr Mahendra Reddy that villagers could only move within the village using rafts and outboard motors during adverse weather. Mr Nateba said the 150 Cakaudrove villagers have had to swim when the situation worsens. “It has been a recurring problem over the years and despite highlighting our pleas to authorities, nothing has been done,” he said. Dreketi villager Sokoveti Yalani said during heavy flooding, villagers had to clean their homes because it was usually inundated with silt and rubbish. Ms Yalani said flooding in the village had become a joke with women in the village because it was associated with swimming and massive clean-ups following every flood. Responding to these concerns, Dr Reddy assured villagers that a scoping exercise on works along the two streams would begin next week. Dr Reddy said mitigation works to address the problem would include the straightening of the waterways and cleaning of drains. “However, works will begin after the announcement of the national budget because these sort of projects will be addressed in the new budget,” he said.

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