The people of Matawalu, Naviago and Vitogo villages in Lautoka have been shattered by the sheer scale of devastation and destruction of their homes and property by the floods that swept through the 6 kilometre long stretch from Matawalu Village to the low lying areas of the Lovu settlement.
“The mess left behind is unbelievable,” said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry who visited Matawalu and Naviago Villages last week.
“I am convinced that the families in these villages as well as all affected areas where peoples’ homes and belongings have been destroyed should be paid a cash grant to assist them purchase basic household items, including food and medication.
“In these hard times, every family in these villages will face an uphill battle to survive. They simply do not have the resources to recover from the loss they have suffered.
“Food packs and blankets are fine but they don’t meet the other basic requirements of a family for daily living. It must be remembered that almost all of them have little children who need to be cared for and protected from falling ill,” said Mr. Chaudhry.
“They are people with ordinary incomes, hardly able to make ends meet in normal times. All their household items have been destroyed; their clothes ruined by the slush that filled their homes.
“The whole village environment is unhealthy. Government assistance is necessary to ensure the villages are properly cleaned up to make them habitable and free of infectious diseases.
“When I visited there last week, these villages were still without water to wash away the mud and slush from homes and community buildings including the village church. While some villagers had help from the National Fire Authority, the others were still waiting for things to happen before they could move back into their homes.
Restoration and rehabilitation work will continue in its own time and may take many months. What is more important is to see that the affected peoples’ lives are returned to some semblance of normality under a habitable and disease-free environment,” he said.
Overflowing drains contributed to the massive flooding in Naviago