Water aid

THE Commissioner Western’s office has started carting water to villages and schools in the maritime areas with 300,000 litres already shipped to assist seven schools in the Yasawa Group.

In addition to this, a second vessel carrying 140,000ltrs of water will leave this morning for the Mamanuca Group to assist the people of Yanuya Village, Yanuya District School and Mamanuca Primary School.

The prolonged dry weather has affected thousands of people in rural areas of western and northern Fiji as well as the outer islands.

The agriculture sector is already feeling the effects of the dry weather, with Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan saying the adverse conditions would affect crop volume and cane production this year.

Principal agricultura officer West Vinesh Kumar said the minimal rain experienced over in the West a few weeks ago provided some relief but there were still areas in the division without water.

The Commissioner Western’s office continues to receive requests for water from the outer islands as well as villages on the mainland. According to divisional planning officer West Sitiveni Tavaga, additional supply was transported when vessels were available.

“We will make four trips to deliver water to Yasawa. We focussed on the schools earlier and we will be helping communities next,” Mr Tavaga said.

“We wanted to focus on the schools first because we don’t want to shut them down if students have no water.”

A ship that returned from Waya Island last Saturday will be travelling to assist parts of the Mamanuca Group.

“This barge will be leaving tomorrow (today) and they are timing it with the high tide. Once the ship returns, we will be travelling further up the Yasawa Group to the Naviti district because we have received requests from the villagers there as well.

“From Naviti, we will be travelling to Nacula and Yasawa-i-rara. After that we will turn our focus to Vatulele.”

Mr Tavaga said the previous shipment to schools in Yasawa was expected to last about two weeks.

“After we have finished the first round of transporting water to the villages, we will be working to start a second round.

“Apart from the villages and schools, we are also focussing on assisting government personnel who are stationed in the outer islands- particularly those in nursing stations and police posts.”

Yesterday officials from the Commissioner Western’s office also distributed water to villages between the Nadi and Sigatoka corridor.

“We have carted water to areas like Lomawai, Korovuto and Tunalia. At the end of the day, we have the figures on the number of people who have been assisted.”

About $200,000 has been set aside by the Commissioner Western’s office for the delivery of water to affected areas.