Fiji Labour Party condemns as shockingly heartless a statement by Director Akapusi Tuifagalele, National Disaster Management Committee, that victims of last week’s severe flooding should not rely on the government for food rations (FT 22/12).
“Of what use is a government that cannot come to the aid of people in dire need? One of the most fundamental responsibilities of the State is to assist needy citizens, particularly those hit by natural disasters which is beyond their control,” said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
The community does help but government must not shirk its own social duty to the victims. After all, the community pays taxes and expects assistance when needed.
Fiji Labour Party has already called on government to provide cash grants of $1000 per family to those affected by the recent flooding and those still recovering from the devastating impact of Cyclone Winston 10 months ago.
“It is absolutely shocking that thousands of families are still living in tents 10 months after the cyclone. And we are into the next cyclone season. Mr. Tuifagalele should apologise for his insensitive comments and admit NDMC’s failure to effectively address the total impact of the disaster on the people.
“His statement will be seen as heartless and cruel at any time. It comes through as particularly callous three days before Christmas when he should be displaying compassion and care for those in distress,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Hundreds of families are left without food and other essentials – there will be no joy or Xmas cheer for their children.
At this time, the nation has a right to ask what has happened to the millions of dollars that were collected as part of the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. This money should be used to feed the victims of the recent flooding.
“That is what it is there for,” Mr Chaudhry said.