17 Jan 2005

600 Fiji families still waiting for cyclone compensation

11:54 am on 17 January 2005

600 hundred families in Fiji are reported to be still waiting for government help to rebuild their lives two years after Cyclone Ami devastated the island of Vanua Levu in January 2003.

The Sunday Times reports that nothing has happened despite a promise by the new minister for regional development, Ted Young, when he was appointed last month that he would give the cyclone victims priority.

The newspaper has highlighted the case of families with children living in makeshift shelters made from a few pieces of badly damaged roofing iron and broken timber borrowed from their neighbours.

Family members are quoted as saying every time they ask government officials about when they will receive aid, they are told to return later while other families who were not affected by the cyclone have received help.

The commissioner northern, Misieli Naivalu, says the 600 families would be assisted this year.

But, he says, if their names do not appear on the list of those approved for rehabilitation assistance, they will not be helped.