Shipping operators have been urged to closely work with authorities and prioritise deployments of relief supplies during the current emergency period. Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management and National Disaster Controller Mr David Kolitagane highlighted this while addressing shipping operators at a meeting in Suva yesterday.
Mr Kolitagane informed the group that the Government’s two main areas of concern at the moment was the Northern and the Eastern Divisions. In the coming days, the Government would be deploying more food rations, equipment and some critical assets to these two divisions.
“Please work closely with us as Government would be deploying 7,000 ration packs for the Eastern Division,” Mr Kolitagane said.
He said teams from the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) left last night for maintenance works on damaged infrastructure in the Eastern Division. Deployments would take place once these repairs were completed.
“I know you have Christmas customers too who want to go across, but all we need is if we can be given some priority,” Mr Kolitagane said.
“We just need good partnership and cooperation from our stakeholders.” “The immediate tasking right now is to depart for the Eastern Division as soon as possible. For the Northern Division, we will be sending our second deployment and we are also hiring some vessels and we also need them filled up properly especially if government is paying.”
Speaking during the meeting, Director Transport Ms Faranisese Kinivuwai also emphasized to the shipping operators to be mindful of the schedules. Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) chief executive officer Mr Simon Gravenell also highlighted during the meeting that two MSAF officers had been deployed to Nabouwalu, Bua to coordinate shipping movement in the area.
The Ministry also wishes to advise members of the public to be understanding of any delays in commercial shipping schedules as Government is working round the clock to mobilise emergency and humanitarian support to the most affected communities and villages by TC Yasa in the Northern and Eastern Divisions.