17 Mar 2016

FLP decries lack of Fiji relief plan

5:25 pm on 17 March 2016

The Fiji Labour Party says the government has still not announced a comprehensive relief package for the victims of Cyclone Winston.

It accused the government of dilly-dallying and forcing people to draw on their pensions to cope with the crisis, which has hit about 40 percent of the population.

The FLP said 120,000 people had applied for a fund withdrawal.

It said all the Fiji First government had done so far was to hand out food rations and tarpaulins donated by others.

The FLP said the government had declared a national emergency but refused to heed the opposition's call for parliament to sit.

It said the prime minister would have a discussion with the Ministry of Finance to see what assistance the government could provide but added that the finance minister was out of the country in India.

Solid concrete walls came down in Lavena Taveuni Island Fiji

Solid concrete walls came down in Lavena Taveuni Island Fiji Photo: Alex Perrottet/RNZ

Fiji resilience praised

The leader of a group of New Zealand firefighters who have just returned from providing cyclone relief in Fiji said the people there had been resilient.

Cyclone Winston killed 44 people, and left thousands homeless when it devastated large parts of the country last month.

Infrastructure is also heavily affected, and the total damage bill is still being counted.

The Fire Service's Urban Search and Rescue commander, Nick Pyatt, said a lot of their work was helping with repairs and clearing storm damage.

Mr Pyatt said another priority was to get schools and medical services up and running again.

He said for a lot of residents, being able to have their children go back to school was a great relief.