46 families affected by Tropical Cyclone Tomas get new homes

Following extensive damage to homes caused by Tropical Cyclone Tomas on March 14 2010, forty-six families living in the worst affected areas of Vanua Levu now have new homes to live in.

When Tropical Cyclone Tomas crossed Fiji in 2010, it caused significant damage to homes and crops in the Northern and Eastern Divisions, and a State of Natural Disaster was declared on March 16 2010.

In response to this disaster, Habitat for Humanity Fiji (HFH Fiji) partnered with the Fijian Government by entering into a memorandum of understanding outlining the role that HFH Fiji would play in helping to rebuild the area.

The New Zealand Aid Programme generously responded by providing significant funding to HFH Fiji to assist lower-income families from eleven villages in the worst affected areas of Vanua Levu.

The Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development, Lieutenant Colonel Inia Seruiratu said this is a good example of public-private partnership which Government has been promoting for some time now.

“Government is indeed thankful to Habitat for Humanity Fiji for working in collaboration with government and other organisations to assist the needy people in our society. Government places a lot of importance in seeing that people have better housing. Assistance from HFH Fiji will go a long way in ensuring that the people affected by TC Tomas get their lives back on track and improve their living standard,” Lieutenant Colonel Seruiratu said.

Generous funding was also provided by the Bank of the South Pacific (BSP) and the Rotary Club of Lautoka.

With this funding, HFH Fiji worked to rebuild homes for these families, which were either completely destroyed or uninhabitable following TC Tomas.

These families were living in either makeshift dwellings or with families and friends.

With work completed in April this year, these families are now living in their own new homes.

HFH Fiji’s National Director Richard Counts said all families assisted worked alongside HFH Fiji by providing volunteer labour, lodging and meals.

“Habitat for Humanity believes in giving a hand up, not a hand out, and villagers played a major role in rebuilding their own communities,” Mr Counts said.

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand also provided generous assistance by sending 34 international volunteers to lend a hand in rebuilding these homes.

“Through the hard work of the carpenters, families, communities and the international volunteers, we were able to complete the 46 homes in just over 6 months.

“These families weren’t able to rebuild their homes on their own due to their financial hardship, but thanks to the donors their lives have been changed for the better,” Mr Counts said.