Macuata- This new seawall now forms a powerful buffer between you and the continued heartbreak of watching the community you have built washed away.
This was the statement made by the Prime Minister, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama while commissioning the newly-built seawall in Raviravi Village this morning.
“This seawall is an ingenious combination of human-made and nature-based solutions to provide protection that is more effective and less expensive than a concrete wall. The use of boulders reduced construction costs, and the mangroves planted in front of the wall and vetiver planted behind the wall provide extra protection – to absorb and contain tidal flows.”
“The mangroves are the first line of defense, as they have always been in Fiji, and the vetiver is the last line. The vetiver forms a strong hedge. Its deep roots hold in the soil, and it can thrive even in soil that has been inundated by seawater.”
The new seawall stretches across 146 metres of shoreline, and is built to a standard; to maximise protection from coastal erosion.Prime Minister Bainimarama also highlighted the sad reality of the climate change crisis stating “Across Fiji, sea level rise is eroding shorelines, threatening communities which have thrived on our coasts for generations.
Depending on the area, seawalls can sometimes suffice. In other instances, entire communities must be relocated. This is the sad reality of climate change –– a crisis Fijians have done next to nothing to cause, but which is hitting our people extremely hard.”
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the villagers of Raviravi who engage in pearl farming as a sustainable source of income. He stated the construction of the new seawall will offer more than protection as it will now be an entire ecosystem on its own sheltering other marine life and providing the community with a new source of sustenance.
He stated “the nature based solution does more than build resilience, it strengthens our protection of nature and the life which shares our planet. And it strengthens the bond with nature your people share”.
Prime Minister Bainimarama also revisited his message at the virtual UNGA meeting earlier this week, calling for more urgent climate action and for industrialized nations to reduce their carbon emissions. He added “I do so for the villagers of Raviravi, for the vulnerable communities everywhere who are on the frontlines of climate impacts and for our children whose future lies within our collective hands”.
Speaking on behalf of the villagers, Mr Josateki Manatua said their prayers have finally been answered by the Fijian Government.
“This project was something we longed for, for years as some of our houses have already been affected by sea-level rise but today, we have been greatly assisted,” he said.”
The Prime Minister visited us a few months ago and we requested this project. Within months, the Government efficiently responded to our plea. We thank you and your Government, Prime Minister.”