Most victims are still awaiting immediate relief
Lautoka received a severe battering from Cyclone Evan which inflicted substantial damage to at least 25% of homes and properties in the city and its rural hinterland.
Lashed by strong hurricane-force winds, the trees have been stripped bare,
standing look torn and battered and debris still litters most of the city centre.
Debris still litters Marine Drive in Lautoka
Mr Chaudhry said at a rough estimate almost 35% of the cane crop has suffered heavy damage. And some 60% of the city’s population has
Devastated cane farm in Drasa, Lautoka
“People here are just shattered. They have lost confidence in the promises made by the State. Most are simple farming families who do not have the means to start from scratch every time a natural disaster strikes,” he said.
This is the third natural disaster to hit the farming community this year taking into account the two floods early in January and March. This time around many families have had their entire homes blown away and personal belongings destroyed.
They did not receive much assistance from the State in the process of rebuilding and rehabilitation after the devastation suffered from the floods. This time around again relief has been very slow in coming.
“We have received no help so far from the government,” was a common refrain from those affected. The Australian donated tents and tarpaulins haven’t yet come through to the people.
“We hear a lot of promises being made but nothing really comes through,” said a Johnson Road resident.
It seems much of the help offered is buried in bureaucracy. “To receive any help offered by the government we are being made to run from pillar to post to fill in countless numbers of forms and they ask for all kinds of information before they consider anything,” he said.
The State needs to streamline its procedure. People can’t wait for all that processing to take place. They need immediate assistance, preferably cash to re-start their lives. Some families don’t even have cooking utensils – that’s how desperate the their situation is.
Farm labourer Jitendra Prasad and his wife left with the remains of what was a newly built home in Johnson Road.