31 Jan 2003

Further claims that Indo-Fijians are being overlooked by cyclone relief workers

9:20 am on 31 January 2003

There are allegations of favouritism in Fiji in the distribution of food rations to cyclone victims in the country's north and east.

Radio Fiji says it has received reports from Vanua Levu that some soldiers are giving rations to their relatives.

Another complaint is that ethnic Indian families are being overlooked or given small quantities of food.

The state-owned radio says one soldier has reported seeing the unfair distribution of food since they were deployed to Vanua Levu.

The soldier, who did not wish to be named, says relatives are being given more rations than other villagers.

In another incident, a school teacher who went to Labasa to help his family says he experienced at first hand the discrepancies in the way rations were distributed.

The school teacher says to feed his family of eight, he was given one kilogramme of rice, two kilogrammes of flour, three tins of fish and eight kilogrammes of lentils which was supposed to last for four days.

He says his indigenous Fijian neighbours who had fewer people to feed were given more rations while some Indo-Fijian families were completely overlooked.

The Disaster Management Centre in Labasa, which manages the distribution of relief, says no one has complained about irregularities.