Villagers of Gusuisavu in Waidina, Naitasiri will soon no longer have to move their stock to higher grounds during rainy weather.

This follows the timely assistance by the Ministry of Waterways to prevent Riverbank erosion for the Gusuisavu Village in Waidina Naitasiri and protect the riverbank erosion from flooding.

The $691,605.00 investment by government through the Capital drainage and flood protection program of the Ministry of Waterways and Environment for Gusuisavu village in Naitasiri was commissioned yesterday by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy.

Minister Reddy said riverbank erosion is a result of climate change and needs to be dealt at the global level.

Minister Reddy reiterated that to further address the global issue, the Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama is leading a delegation in a global forum in New York to get further support to protect the environment.

“We can fix this issue here today for your village, but this is just a temporary solution. The entire country and other pacific island nations are under threat and this problem needs to be addressed at a global level.”

“At the local level, we are developing more resources to protect you, your village and your communities while at the global level our Prime Minister is there at the global forum with other world leaders to talk to other developed countries the importance of dealing with  climate change issues,”.

Hon. Dr. Reddy added that protecting the communities and villagers is the government’s priority.

“The riverbank protection work for the Gusuisavu village will ensure increased resilience to riverbank erosion for the villagers and the community.

“Drainage and Flood Protection Programmes are designed to restore the conveyance capacity of rivers and creeks for maximum discharge and to minimize riverbank erosion.”

The investment will benefit the villagers from the stabilization of river banks which will reduce the loss of village land protecting the village structures against erosion and also reduce the excessive sedimentation within watercourses, which silts up gravel beds and destroys spawning and invertebrate habitat.

Gusuisavu villager 45-year-old Marika Baleca said this was a timely assistance for the villagers.

“Today is a day of celebration for this village and we are glad for the assistance provided to this village and the community to address this riverbank erosion,” Mr Baleca said.

“The protection work will allow protecting the village from soil erosion where a lot of soil has already been washed away by the floods. The protection work will protect the village homes and also it will help to preserve our land which is being washed away.”

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