The Ba town is under siege, it seems, as flooding enters its third week. Damage to farms, buildings, goods, roads, water supply, bridges, crossings and household effects run into several millions of dollars.
This does not include loss of business and wages of employees who will not be paid while unable to attend work. The farming community is among the worst hit.
“Government assistance is slow and sporadic. While some badly hit villages (Votua) received prompt attention, and rightly so, other settlements in the area, just as badly affected, appeared to have been ignored”,said Fiji Labour Party leader, MahendraChaudhry who returned at the weekend after a tour of the flood stricken areas in the West.
Mr Chaudhry called on the authorities to closely monitor the distribution of food and water to ensure that all affected communities are treated equally.
“Ba has been without electricity and water for varying periods during the last three weeks. These disruptions have continued despite assurances to the contrary. Both, FEA and the Water Authority should be asked to explain their inability to provide a better standard of service to the people from whom they take so much.
“Some eight thousand people on the western bank of the Ba/Moto river have been cut off from mainstream Ba for over three weeks now.
“It is a matter of some concern that they and their children have to pay between $2-$5 each way to cross the river on boats to get to get to school or town.
“It is government’s duty to provide for the people in such adverse situations. And we call upon it to take over this responsibility by paying the boat owners a negotiated amount until normal road services are restored”, said Mr Chaudhry.