9 Jan 2013

No government help to rebuild for Fiji's cyclone-hit squatters

7:22 am on 9 January 2013

The director of Fiji's National Disaster Management Office says there will be no government help for people living in informal settlements to rebuild their homes.

Squatters in the Western Division are thought to have been affected most severely by Cyclone Evan, which hit just over three weeks ago.

Manasa Tagicakibau says people from squatter settlements took refuge in evaucation centres during the storm but were sent home with tarpaulins afterwards.

He says helping them rebuild their houses would set a bad government precedent.

"We'll assist those on formal areas, those sitting on formal areas. Those sitting on informal areas, government is not authorised, or, how do we say, government is not legitimate to assist them because they are termed as squatters."

Manasa Tagicakibau says the interim government is working with NGOs and other organisations to address the areas government is not.

The declaration of a state of natural disaster ends today.