Labour replies to the Attorney General

  • 5th April 2012
  • 2012
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These homes at Utalei, near Korovuto Village in Nadi were completely submerged in flood waters. Families say they have received no assistance since Friday.

It is government’s responsibility to ensure that evacuation centres are adequately stocked with emergency food, water and medical supplies to cater for victims of natural disasters, said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

He was responding to comments from Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyyum accusing him of resorting to political point scoring in making claims that government’s disaster relief teams were not adequately prepared.

Mr Chaudhry said there was no question of political point scoring. His statement was based on the findings of surveys conducted by Labour Party officials at all affected centres and not Fiji Times reports, as claimed by the AG.

“It is a fact that people are complaining. They have been caught in the worst flooding experienced in recent years, much worse than the disaster of 2009 and yet in the three days from Friday to Monday no food rations were handed out by the State,” Mr Chaudhry said.

“The Prime Minister himself is on record having expressed dissatisfaction at the slow pace of relief assistance at briefings he received from District officers in Sigatoka, Ba and Lautoka. He has urged government officials to concentrate on providing food rations and water.

“This is the ground reality. Mr Khaiyum should get off his high horse and listen to the number of complaints that are being aired on radios daily from people who claim they have been herded into centres without food, water or emergency medical supplies.

“He could also pay a visit to the people of Utalei, Nadi (next to the Korovuto Village). Some 40 homes here were completely submerged in the flood waters forcing 300 people to take shelter in makeshift tarpaulin tents along the road side. They have had no food, water or electricity since Friday.

Picture shows Kanti Lal and his family sheltering under makeshift tent at Utalei,
Nadi. About 40 families in the mixed settlement whose homes were under flood waters
say they have received no State assistance since Friday.

“They made requests to the authorities for emergency rations. But have received nothing to date,” Mr Chaudhry said.

“FLP is genuinely concerned about the plight of the people and our officials are on the ground monitoring relief works and providing assistance where possible.

“It is our duty to ensure that timely and adequate State assistance reaches out to all those who are suffering as a result of the disaster. The Labour Party will continue to work in the best interests of the people,” Mr Chaudhry said.