Speaking during his two day tour of the Northern Division (January 22 - 23), Mr. Qarase said Fiji is fortunate that the provinces of Lau and Lomaiviti are not as badly hit by Cyclone Ami as expected.
"There was no doubt in our minds that there was extensive damage in Macuata and Cakaudrove during the aerial survey last week, but looking from above and looking at the destruction at ground level is very different.
"That is why I wanted to make a quick visit to the North to see what had happened on the ground."
Mr. Qarase said he was glad to visit the North as it has given us a much better picture of the extent of work that needs to be done and also the amount of work that is already going on to bring life back to normality.
Mr. Qarase said there is no question that the destruction is extensive and serious, but this is not the first time in Fiji.
He said this is one of those things that we have to put up with.
Mr. Qarase thanked the Commissioner Northern, the DISMAC team, heads of departments and other government officials saying they are doing a tremendous job of trying to achieve some normality after Cyclone Ami under very difficult circumstances and severe criticism from some quarters.
"I would like to express my gratitude for the work that has been done and no doubt the work that will continue to be done as we embark on the rehabilitation phase of this disaster.
"My Government will support you and we will try and accommodate you as far as resources will allow.
"I am sure that with all the work that you are leading and the support of the people and of course with the assistance of Government, I have no doubt that we will go through this major hiccup as we have done in the past," said Mr. Qarase.