MINISTRY OF INFORMATION NEWS SUMMARY

1.???? COMMUNITY APPROACH FOR HEALTH CAMPAIGN – The Ministry of Health?is carrying out an extensive clean-up campaign in various parts of the country as part of efforts to avoid water-borne diseases.

2.???? Suweni villagers assisted in diversion of riverVillagers of Suweni in Cakaudrove can now breathe a sigh of relief thanks to a completed river diversion project carried out by the Office of the Commissioner Northern in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.
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3.???? NEW CENTRE OPENS FOR COLO-I-SUVA WOMEN – A new infrastructural development in Colo-i-Suva village in the province of Naitasiri will boost financial income opportunities for the Seniniu Women?s Group.

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4.???? National Damage Report on recent flashfloods to be compiledThe Ministry of Agriculture officials are continuing with their assessment and visitations to flood affected areas around Tailevu, Naitasiri, Rewa, Serua, Namosi, Nadroga/Navosa and the Province of Ra.

1 COMMUNITY APPROACH FOR HEALTH CAMPAIGN

?The Ministry of Health?is carrying out an extensive clean-up campaign in various parts of the country as part of efforts to avoid water-borne diseases.

?While this campaign follows recent adverse weather conditions faced in most parts of the Eastern and Central Division, it is also part of efforts to reduce and avoid dengue fever in the country.

?The Minister for Health Dr Neill Sharma said the campaign is designed to strengthen community awareness on how to avoid water borne diseases. He added that the campaign uses a community approach; by encouraging Fijians to be involved in this clean-up campaign.

??In the aftermath of the heavy downpour experienced last week, the risk of dengue infection will continue for a few days afterwards hence the need for a quick clean-up.?

??Over the past months, the Health Ministry has been proactive and has?implemented strategies such as national public awareness programmes and clean up campaigns mounted in various areas throughout the country to curtail the dengue out break?, Minister Sharma said.

?Meanwhile the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Honolulu and Puerto Rico has also provided technical assistance to the Health Ministry in terms of expertise assessment and surveillance between people and the dengue mosquitoes.?

??We have also been working closely with various stakeholders such as World Health Organisation (WHO) Fiji Health Sector Support Program (FHSSP), UNICEF, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Australian and Chinese governments to ensure health safety of the public.?

?Minister Sharma has reiterated his call to the public to clean up their surroundings and clear out all vessels containing stagnant water as this is the main breeding ground for mosquitoes.

??The Public should take heed of our advisories and become proactive by cleaning up their compounds and also requesting others in community to do the same.?

?The current statistics on dengue stands at 3556 confirmed cases and seven confirmed deaths.

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2 Suweni villagers assisted in diversion of river

?Villagers of Suweni in Cakaudrove can now breathe a sigh of relief thanks to a completed river diversion project carried out by the Office of the Commissioner Northern in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.

?The river which previously flowed at a distance from the village site broke its banks during the heavy floods experienced in 2010 and another river was formed closer to the village. Flooding experienced in the years thereafter meant that homes and plantations were being affected.

?Senior Engineer for Land and Water Resources Management (LWRM) Division based in the Northern Division, Joseva Sautu said the project to assist the villagers in diverting the current track of the river to its original track began in November last year with funding provided by the Commissioner Northern?s Office.

?He said the original river track was re-excavated to divert the river from its current course to the original course. A combination of groyne, boulder protection and gabion box was used to protect the village banks from further erosion.

?Senior Engineer Central LWRM Frank Alhambra who was formerly based in the North said that after the 2009 flash floods, $47,000 was provided by the Commissioner Northern?s Office to divert the river away from the village.

??So we requested additional funds to construct the proper gabion protection and around $407,000 was given for construction.?

??Gabion walls are filled with spalls and boulder protection in front of the wall as a tool for protection of the gabion and the upper part of the diversion channel being reinforced with a groyne structure,? said Mr Alhambra.

?Village elder Mr Jovilisi Bolamasei from Suweni said that they appreciate what the government has done and without their help, the village would have been destroyed by floods.

?Assistance on this same issue was provided to villagers in the districts of Vaturova as well as Vatukaca village but on a smaller scale.

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3 NEW CENTRE OPENS FOR COLO-I-SUVA WOMEN

A new infrastructural development in Colo-i-Suva village in the province of Naitasiri will boost financial income opportunities for the Seniniu Women?s Group.

?This would be possible through the opening of a new women centre extension in Colo-i-Suva village yesterday. The centre has been built with a funding of $5000 from the Ministry with additional contribution of $2000 from the villagers.

?The new centre was officially opened yesterday by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni. Minister Luveni commended the Colo-i-Suva women for their efforts in looking after the needs of their families.

??The women in this village have demonstrated great skills in handicraft making, weaving and even baking and the centre will further boost their efforts to earn income through these activities. Their group was determined to have this centre and had already started building it, the Ministry saw this as an opportunity to assist them in completion of this project to uplift their lives.

??This initiative has been supported by the men, they have built this centre which houses a dispensary, kitchen and proper rest rooms.? With frequent visits from the tourists, the centre will be a great incentive for women to work together and get more products to be sold to the tourists. ?It will be a central place to facilitate awareness programs and trainings on women?s leadership development, reproductive health and elimination of violence against women and children,? Dr Luveni said.

?While thanking the government, Mrs Ana Ravia, president of Seniniu Women?s group said the centre will enable them to expand their income generating activities.

??We are grateful to the Ministry for the much needed assistance to build our women?s centre. Now we have a permanent place to conduct our weekly group meeting and income generating activities. The women will also bake and make handicrafts which will be displayed and marketed at this centre.

??The centre has encouraged the women and men to work together and make maximum use of the resources available to churn income for our families. Women?s role has been given greater importance through the opening of this centre and we even have a voice into village meetings which previously male dominated,? Mrs Ravia said.

?Mr Joseva Ravia, turaga-ni-koro for Colo-i-Suva village said that this development would assist to improve the overall living standard in his village.

??There are 300 people who live in this village and our main sources of living are subsistence farming and we are lucky that we usually have tourist who visit our village once a month. The women are able to make around $100 a day just by selling their products to the tourists, it?s a profitable venture.?

??We are thankful to the Bainimarama government for supporting this development in our village that will enable women to utilize the centre as the means to earn income for their families. It will become a place where women will come, acquire skills and then venture into their own businesses like baking, tailoring and catering. This is a place for continued learning and a platform for people to help them become financially independent. We have great plans for this village in terms of our village development and it would be delivered through this centre,? Mr Ravia said.

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4 National Damage Report on recent flashfloods to be compiled

?The Ministry of Agriculture officials are continuing with their assessment and visitations to flood affected areas around Tailevu, Naitasiri, Rewa, Serua, Namosi, Nadroga/Navosa and the Province of Ra.

?The Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary for Agriculture, Mr Ropate Ligairi said that the current total estimate damage to crops and livestock now stands at $1.8m.

?However, this amount will increase once the detailed assessment of the flood affected areas is made known later this week.

??All damage assessment reports and figures will be submitted to the National Agriculture Operation Centre based in Raiwaqa by this evening (Wednesday) for compilation of a National Damage Report,? Mr Ligairi said.

??The report will be endorsed by the Government for the rehabilitation program, budget and timelines.?

Mr Ligairi said that the most affected commodities were root crops, vegetables, banana, pawpaw and cassava around Tailevu, Waidina and Waimanu river banks in Naitasiri, Rewa delta and Nadroga/Navosa.

??The high rate of damage was due to slow receding of flood waters in the affected area.?

For the livestock, the major impact of the flood was on cattle, poultry, sheep and pig farms.

??Farmers in Tailevu lost about 10,000 litres of milk due to non-accessibility of milk tankers that collect milk daily from Bulk Suppliers in Wainivesi and Waimaro dairy area and this was a result of the closure of Babavoce road.

??The worst affected area was Serua/Namosi and the Ministry has deployed its staff to begin a detailed

survey and assessment of damage done by the flood,? Mr Ligairi said.

?The Ministry had deployed more staff on the field to fast track the damage survey on crops and livestock in their localities.

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