Villagers of Bagasau in Cakaudrove now have a safe place to seek shelter in during the event of any natural disaster.

This follows the completion of their evacuation centre, funded through the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management’s Self Help Program (SHP).

When TC Harold made landfall in Fiji in April, 30 people from the village sought refuge in the centre for their own safety.Bagasau Village headman Mr.Taia Colaitiniyara said they were thankful to the assistance rendered by Government.

“During Severe TC WIinston, some families were affected but we didn’t have a place to seek shelter in, but now we have this evacuation centre,”

Mr Colaitiniyara said.“During the height of the recent cyclone, some of the villagers came to seek shelter here, although it had not been officially opened. They were happy that we now have this.

“We are delighted with this assistance provided by Government but we also ask that they help us in the construction of other components of the centre which includes restroom facilities for men and women and the dining area.”

He said having a dining area and a kitchen facility within the EC was vital especially in times of a disaster.Mr Colaitiniyara said the new EC would also serve as a meeting place for villagers.

“For many years we had been praying for something similar to this and we are happy.”Due to COVID-19, the project was supposed to have been completed next month will now be officially opened at a later date

The Self-Help Programme assists rural dwellers in the construction of basic amenities and other small projects.

The programme encourages communities to initiate their socio- economic sustainable development projects on a cost sharing basis with government, and by doing so, aims to instill a sense of community ownership.

Meanwhile, Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon.Inia Seruiratu, who was part of the Hon.Prime Minister’s tour of the Northern Division this week reiterated that the intentions of Government was clear from the beginning in that development programmes were all inclusive, ensuring no one was left behind – especially those in rural Fiji.

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