More water for drought stricken parts of west Fiji

LAUTOKA, Fiji—One hundred and fifty water tanks will be installed in the most drought affected areas in the Western Division of Fiji from today to ensure water for communities can be accessed by as many people as possible as the drought conditions worsen across the country. 

The provision of tanks was made possible with support from the €19.36 million European Union Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project, which is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

These tanks will be installed in temporary roadside locations filled by the National Disaster Management Office throughout the Christmas season to ensure the most severely affected areas can access clean and safe drinking water, which is critical to human health. 

Uraia Rainima, acting principal assistant secretary for the National Disaster Management Office, said the team is targeting “red zone” communities identified across the Nadi, Nadroga and Ba Districts as they have been identified as the most at risk.

“We are installing these tanks in temporary locations for now so we can ensure more people from these severely affected areas can access water.  We are trying to help as many people as possible as this drought worsens.

“The predictions show these conditions will persist until at least March so we are working to ensure we can get clean and safe drinking water to as many people as possible across the country,” he said.

Andrew Jacobs, European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, said this use of resources, as part of the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project, is critical for protecting communities against the impact of this El Niño weather pattern causing the drought.

“Some of the areas most affected in Fiji are highly populated so ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water is critical for these communities and we commend the work the National Disaster Management Office is doing to ensure this critical service is being delivered to as many people as possible,” he said.

The water tanks are ready to be dispatched from Lautoka and is expected to be installed immediately when it reaches remote areas of these districts in the coming days.

Taito Nakalevu, project manager of the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project, said mobilizing these services immediately is crucial to protecting the health of these communities.

“This is why our project is working with National Disaster Management teams all over the Pacific to help get these systems in place for the future.  If we can be ready to respond to the oncoming disasters quickly in the future than we are helping build a more resilient Pacific.

“This is why I commend the proactive work the NDMO is doing and we are proud to support them in any way we can to effectively prepare for disasters into the future,” he said. (SPC)

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