28 Nov 2016

Rabuka wants inquiry into Fiji's Help for Homes

4:41 pm on 28 November 2016
What Winston left of this house in Lavena village Taveuni Fiji

Cyclone Winston caused massive damage across much of Fiji Photo: Alex Perrottet/RNZ

The leader of Fiji's opposition Sodelpa party has called for an inquiry into the Help for Homes programme set up after Cyclone Winston.

The leader of Fiji's opposition Sodelpa party Sitiveni Rabuka has called for an inquiry into the Help for Homes programme set up after Cyclone Winston.

He says nine months after the devastating cyclone, people are still living in tents as they wait for building supplies provided free through the scheme.

Under the scheme, affected households given prepaid cards to use at selected hardware retailers.

Mr Rabuka said he visited homes in Cakaudrove province earlier this month and found people who paid cash were able to source building materials but those with cards were still awaiting them.

He said the Help for Homes scheme was a failure and he urged a return to government sourcing supplies after destructive cyclones.

Mr Rabuka said companies should be dropped from the programme if they couldn't supply the materials.

"Government should urgently consider deploying the RFMF Engineers to carry out rehabilitation under a Department for Cyclone Rehabilitation and Housing, and to re-establish the Government Supplies

Department to source construction supplies," he said.

"I call for an inquiry, an investigation into where the delays are, that if civil servants or ministers are responsible for having dropped the ball, that they be held accountable and disciplined."

People on Koro Island are too desperate to wait for supplies and have cut wood from the forest themselves. There's enough here for 100 homes.

Rebuilding efforts have been slower than hoped for Photo: RNZI/Alex Perrottet