|Some of the flood victims outside the FNPF office in Lautoka. picture: BALJEET SINGH|
The anguish today of flood victims desperately seeking funds from the Fiji National Provident Fund only to be sent home empty handed.
According to the Fiji Times 58 families (many of them with children) yesterday visited the Lautoka FNPF office seeking funds for basics and school uniforms.
Those turned away were reportedly told the forms had not reached the office or that FNPF would not be helping flood victims.
One man was quoted as pleading: "I am requesting the government to step forward and help us through these troubled times."
The plight of flood victims come as information from the ground suggests the cost of the flooding is well above the $8 million estimated by the regime. Inside sources told Coupfourpointfive last week damage is likely to top $30 million; another government source says a more realistic figure is $200 million dollars.
Sources say the illegal government will be hard pushed to find funding to repair the estimated 20,000 homes that have been destroyed along with bridges that have been washed away and roads that have been left with huge potholes.
They say most of the flood victims will get no help from the regime apart from the two months of food rations and that many victims will probably have to rely on international aid via aid agencies like the Red Cross or NGO's instead of government.
Meanwhile a study by the UNISDR and UNDP, based on the devastating floods of 2009, has led to the finding that Nadi will be experiencing high-intensity floods every 25 years by 2100, instead of every 190 years.
The UN will have to do another report because it seems that every time there is heavy rainfall, flooding occurs.
It took only three years for flooding to reoccur after 2009 and there is serious concern that the frequency and intensity of this type of flooding will continue every 3 years or even more frequently.
While the UN believes being better prepared and having early warning systems is crucial - it does nothing for the millions lost to farmers and residents in crop damage and personal belongings and equipment.
The regime is advocating the relocation of settlements and farms - but who will pay for this? And what happens to current leases and rental agreements? While the idea is noble, the feasibility and practicality will be a logistical and administrative nightmare if not done correctly.
The following is the UN statement on an e-news bulletin:
NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) -- The United Nations on Sunday called for preventive measures to assist Fiji as heavy rains and severe floods have been ravaging the archipelago nation over the past week.
The United Nations disaster risk reduction agency said at least eight people have died and there have been 51 reported cases of water-borne diseases, including diarrhea and typhoid, as a result of the floods. A 15-day state of emergency has been declared in Fiji's west coast areas as more rain is expected to hit the country.
Some 1,300 people have been evacuated from their homes and the damage caused by flooding is estimated to be about $30 million. Population in vulnerable areas have been advised to evacuate, the agency said in a statement.
"These types of events are likely to continue to occur," said Angelika Planitz, sub-regional coordinator for the Pacific for the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
"Scientists are exploring the evidence that climate change and developments in low-lying flood-prone areas such as Nadi and Ba are contributing factors," she added. "In the interim, improved preparedness and early warning, two important elements of disaster risk reduction, will have to remain important and urgent priorities."
A recent publication by UNISDR and the UN Development Programme warned that high-intensity floods would become more frequent in western Fiji.
In the Nadi area, for example, these type of floods used to occur every 190 years, but by 2100 it is projected that they will occur every 25 years.No fund for flood victims