Villagers of Nabubu in the district of Namuka, Macuata were all smiles today following the commissioning of their new seawall and refurbished evacuation centre.
Labelled as a nature-based eco seawall that cost more than $21,000 to build, the structure will protect the remote village from storm surges and coastal erosion.
The $28,863.99 evacuation centre, on the other hand, will provide shelter during cyclones and other extreme weather conditions.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka
, while commissioning the two village projects, said he was honoured to have been invited to commission the two projects, adding “we are here to celebrate a happy day”.
“Today, we have come to celebrate the fruit of cooperation because many hands have gone into the construction of these two projects,” Prime Minister Rabuka said.
“Many hands and efforts have been directed to these projects and this started from the previous government. For the seawall, we see the illustration of the work of international thinkers, thinking about climate change, global warming and rising sea level.
“I congratulate you all for working together on this seawall project.”
The Ministry of Waterways worked in partnership with the villagers to implement the seawall project.
As part of the project, 600 vetiver grass have been planted on site to maximise protection from coastal erosion.
For the evacuation centre, the days of hiding in caves upland during a cyclone should be a thing of the past as the centre now becomes a safe haven for the 78 villagers.
The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development worked in partnership with the villagers to implement the project.
The villagers paid one third of the total cost of the project.
“I also thank those who have contributed in the construction of the evacuation centre. So many things are happening but we can only go with what we can do with the time we have here,” the Head of the Coalition Government added.
The centre had been constructed to withstand cyclones and other severe storms.
The UNDP’s Risk Informed Development Program also assisted in funding the center’s solar system worth $3,400.
“On behalf of the government of today, we thank the government and leaders of the past, and men and women of the past who started the projects that we are commissioning today, and in their memory, we will continue to do what is good for the community, the country and the world.”
Tui Namuka Ratu Tevita Niumataiwalu, while speaking on behalf of the vanua, thanked the Prime Minister and the coalition Government for their vision in improving the livelihoods of villagers in the area.
He said bigger plans are in place to benefit the vanua and its people, adding they are ready to work with the government of the day to further develop the district.