8 Mar 2005

Fiji's Disaster Management office helping squatters pushed out by landslides

10:19 am on 8 March 2005

Emergency officials in Fiji are moving to help people whose homes have been recently destroyed by landslides.

There's been criticism that they've done little to help twenty families in a squatter settlement in Nausori whose homes had been inundated with mud and rubble, in a landslide caused by three days of heavy rain.

The assistant director of the Disaster Management Office, Akapusi Tuifagalele, says the Red Cross was the first to go to the disaster areas.

Mr Tuifagalele says the Public Works department is clearing the mud and rubble from the area and the Disaster Management Office has ensured that the families have a roof over their head.

"At the moment, they have been billeted with friends and extended families on the other side who have not been affected by the landslides so that is where they are at the moment. And, we have not opened up any emergency centres and we sort of felt that the situation is okay so we leave it at that."

Mr Tuifagalele says they've contacted the Health Department to ask them to warn the squatters about the danger of disease.

The disaster management office expects people to be able to move back into their homes within the next couple of days.