Habitat for Humanity says support still needed for Fiji
Habitat for Humanity says support still needed for Fiji's cyclone recovery.
A charity helping rebuild homes in Fiji says while the recovery from Cyclone Winston may no longer be hitting the headlines internationally it's important that support for it continues.
Habitat for Humanity is praising the effort of the Pacific designer label MENA which held a fashion show in Auckland to help raise money for the charity's work in Fiji.
Its New Zealand chief executive Claire Szabo talked to Jo O'Brien
CLAIRE SZABO: It is exactly the kind of support that we are looking for actually. This is the wonderful thing about groups who have an understanding of what it is like to go through these natural disasters and probably that is true for us here in New Zealand when we think about Christchurch. You know it is an even that is very striking in the News when it happens but we know that the aftermath goes on and on for months and actually for years. And so in terms of the cost of the rebuilding and the reconstruction those are all facing us still. Those emergency responses have been largely completed. People have been given short term relief and temporary shelter and and there have been sort of repairs to homes but the reconstruction is really costly and it is a major exercise and it needs groups to stay alongside Fiji as time goes on into the months and years so that we can really make sure that not only do we build back but we actually build back better and safer. And that people are going to be safer in the next cyclone.
JO O'BRIEN: So is that the stage where habitat is at in terms of the rebuild in Fiji following the cyclone.
CS: That is right, we are now looking at a major reconstruction. In fact the government of course is subsidising a number of things including building materials for families have lost roofs or houses and Habitat is ensuring that when people get those building materials that they are actually applying them safely and they have got the right building techniques. So we are doing a lot of training and support in the communities for that. But we are also helping rebuild cyclone resilient homes and there is a lot of cost associated with that so our fund-raising is pretty critical at this time for Fiji.
JO: And what is it that needs to be done to the homes to make them resilient to cyclones?
CS: So there is a number of design features that I guess we have perfected over the years working in the Pacific. There is a lot about the foundations and how they are concreted in. There are considerations around the way the walls are braced. But most importantly it is really about roofs. Roofs are the things that come off and that is not only obviously destructive for homes but they are incredibly dangerous when you have got roofing iron flying around in you know 300 kilometre an hour winds. That is actually often where we end up with a death toll. So there is a whole lot of safety issues around strapping the roofs down properly and that is often quite a lot of the training that we are doing in the communities when we are doing our work.
JO: Would you have an estimate of how many homes need that sort of work done?
CS: We know that 31,000 homes were either destroyed or where significantly damaged in the cyclone. That is an enormous number some people will have been able to use the temporary shelter items that were distributed in the relief effort to largely repair those homes or those roofs. But there is still tens of thousands of homes that will need significant work. Or else we just need to rebuild from scratch in many cases.
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