In 2012 a major landslide sweeping down the steep incline above Tukuraki village in the province of Ba buried a young family of four as they slept inside their home.
Reports of more than 50 percent of the village area was buried beneath the mud and debris.
Tukuraki village in Yakete, Ba, rests at the base of a steep mountain and has been prone to disasters.
The tragedy that would leave a scar for life for the many displaced Tukuraki villagers lingers on.
The landslide also wiped out the village access road, fresh water resources, and homes.
As if that was not enough Tukuraki village was then struck by Cyclone Evan, a category 4 tropical cyclone, hit the community in December 2012.
This cyclone destroyed what remained.
At the time of the landslide, the community shifted to a temporary village site and the Fiji Government, through the Commissioner Western’s Office, decided the whole village would need to be relocated permanently.
In February 2014, a new site was selected, and work began a year later.
Ba Provincial Administrator Ravuama Nagatalevu says that getting to where they are today was a long process but it finally paid off.
Ba Provincial Administrator Ravuama Nagatalevu
“In 2015 the first step that was done was through the provincial council office who then negotiated with the people of Tui Yakete the provincial chief here to secure a piece of land for the people of Tukuraki. Because the people of Tukuraki now in this village their land was only where the old site was before, this piece of land does not belong to them, it belongs to another ‘mataqali’ and through negotiations there were able to give this piece of land for relocation to take place.”
Nagatalevu further explains the magnitude of the work undertaken at the new site that was quite costly however to give the villagers of Tukuraki a place where they can call home for now is the main push behind the work.
“The first thing that was done was the leveling of this place, now this was all hilly this was the current terrain after we completed the whole project it came to cost of around 738 thousand dollars but that was the costing tagged to the work, but there was other works carried out that was not tagged in terms of costing.”
Nagatalevu says that after the leveling of the land the first thing that had to be sorted was the water source for the people of Tukuraki.
The Government of Fiji further help out by bringing in Income Generating projects such as bee keeping, selling of pebbles from the stream, a chicken farm and a fish pond is what has been helping with their livelihood.
The Mnistry of Forestry also helped by replanting trees around the village site to prevent the previous experience of landslide issues, as that experiences at the old site.
Since that tragic day the village of Tukuraki is the first village to be relocated inland.
If there is one story the people of Tukuraki share is that they are a people that have a strong connection to their land.
Their relocation is more than just being physically moved from one location to another, it has spiritual and cultural connotations to it, but all is all the people of Tukuraki have managed to break the barriers and toil the land given and will forever be grateful for what the Fijian people has always been known for a Caring spirit.