Timber shortage hinders relief efforts

CAPTION: Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.

By SHALENDRA PRASAD

Lack of building materials is a major hindrance to the Fijian Governments efforts of rehabilitating hundreds of families which completely lost their homes in the western division during Tropical Cyclone Evan last year according to Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki.

?All four nominated hardware suppliers that are Manubhai (RC), Vinod Patel, Kasabias and Carpenters Hardware are facing a short supply of building materials, particularly timber,? Commander Cawaki said.

He said the hardware companies are now importing timber form overseas to fulfill the demand but this would mean an added cost of $600 per each house which has been initially budgeted to be built at a total cost of $15800 including labour and material.

?Out of the 950 houses in the western division which government had committed to provide to those families which lost everything, we have already delivered one hundred houses while 850 are still to be built.?

Commander Cawaki said he will be liaising with Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to see if a duty concession could be given for the importation of much needed building materials.

The Fijian Government has allocated $19 million to provide houses to families heavily affected during the cyclone last December.