Fiji: Cabinet provided with status report on relief, rehab. and recons. efforts for TC Tomas

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The Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama provided Cabinet with a status report on the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts for Tropical Cyclone (TC) Tomas.

The Prime Minister said that the total damage cost incurred by Tomas is estimated at $83.4 million.

The Prime Minister said that the agriculture sector was the most severely affected with damages estimated at $52,255,695, followed by infrastructure at $14,150,787 which include residence, education and health facilities.

He said that assistance has been received from development partners, local non-government organisations, businesses and individuals in the form of cash grants and aid-in-kind.

He said that a number of development partners have indirectly contributed to the rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The Prime Minister said that further assistance will be sought from development partners to support the Government's rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

The Prime Minister said that experience has seen the reprioritisation and redeployment of budgetary funds in light of the rehabilitation and reconstruction as a result of these natural disasters.

"This is always unforeseen and it is always unfortunate that the impacts of such catastrophes are heavily felt in the entire sections of the communities in Fiji."

The Prime Minister said that this makes it imperative for donor support in order to meet the financing gap and add some breathing space to Government's ability to manage and effectively co-ordinate rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts when the need arises.

Fiji has been struck with three natural disasters since January 2009 that has caused substantial damage to the economy and strained the country's fragile resources.

The total cost of damages sustained by the three natural disasters amount to $209 million, which include the 2009 January floods, TC Mick and the TC Tomas.

Government has been overseeing the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts for the January 2009 floods, and the work on TC Mick and TC Tomas has now taken precedence.

The Prime Minister further said that the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) will review the food ration requirements to the targeted beneficiaries to ascertain the rationale for the continuation of ration distribution in the next three months to those who were affected.