New initiatives for cyclone-affected victims in Fiji

Venkat Raman

Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has announced a new set of measures to provide relief to the victims of Tropical Cyclones Josie and Keni that devastated the country, killing at least eight people and destroying properties.

Called, ‘Cyclone Assistance Relief Effort (CARE) for Fiji’ the new initiative has been designed to offer relief and assistance to flood victims efficiently.

Far-Reaching Programme

“CARE for Fiji is an unprecedented and wide-reaching programme of Government assistance that cuts across Government ministries and departments to aid those Fijians impacted by the back-to-back onslaughts of TC Josie and TC Keni. Under this Programme, a host of new Government initiatives will operate- including ‘Homes Care,’ ‘Farms Care,’ ‘Sugarcane Care,’ ‘Leaseholders Care’ Welfare Care’ and ‘E-Transport Care.’ Each of these initiatives will cover victims of cyclones,” he said.

In a Statement issued on April 13, 2018, Mr Bainimarama said that according to estimates, about 150,000 Fijians are likely to have been affected by the two recent Tropical Cyclones.

He said that as of April 13, 2018, eight people were reported to have died.

Home Care Initiative

“The first round of assistance under these initiatives will go directly towards affected Fijians living in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Under ‘Homes Care,’ households with annual income of under F$50,000 who have lost items in their homes or whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the cyclones can apply to receive prepaid electronic cards to purchase materials to repair their homes and replace possessions that were lost or badly damaged,” he said.

People whose homes were totally destroyed or suffered severe structural damage can qualify for F$7000 as relief assistance to pay for reconstruction of their homes and to cover replacement costs of lost possessions or household items. These include television sets, furniture, housewares and other valuable items damaged by rains and flooding.

Depending on the extent of damage, the ‘CARE for Fiji’ and its associate Programmes will offer financial relief to victims of the two cyclones.

Those qualified can apply for relief, the procedures for which will be announced in Fiji Sun, on Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Radio Stations and on the Fiji Government Facebook Page.

Relief for Leaseholders

Mr Bainimarama also announced a new Programme for assistance to leaseholders on iTaukei and State land with an annual income of under F$50,000.

Called, ‘Leaseholders Care,’ the Programme is for victims of the two cyclones in the affected areas of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

“For Fijians who are leasing iTaukei or State land for residential or agricultural purposes, the government will pay 12 months of their due lease payment. Details of this scheme will be announced in the local media,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Warning to fraudsters

While Mr Bainimarama promised prompt relief measures to victims, he also warned against any fraud including falsified documents.

“If any Fijian is found to be lying about the state of their property, farm, produce, home or their belongings, there will be very serious consequences. We will have teams deployed throughout the country carrying out regular spot checks of areas benefiting from these Programmes, and we will also establish a hotline where concerned Fijians can report those who they suspect have abused these very important relief programmes. The Hotline will also allow members of the public to lodge complaints against those civil servants who do not fully implement ‘CARE for Fiji Programme,’” he said.

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  1. Bainimarama announcing the ‘CARE for Fiji’ Programme on April 13, 2018
  2. A flood-affected area in the Western Division

(Picture for FBC News of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation by Kreetika Kumar- under a Special Agreement)

 

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