Post-flood temporary employment sites show recovery progress

11 May 2012

(Rakiraki, Fiji) - Significant changes can be seen in the flood affected Vaileka town surroundings and some villages, three weeks after the special cash-for-work programme provided to more than 350 men and women in Rakiraki. The signs of flood damage and debris have been removed from the town area while farms, destroyed by the devastating floods of April, have been replanted with crops.  Affected market vendors continue to rebuild their livelihoods.

Three hundred women are part of those who continue to benefit from a temporary employment programme which hired them for an initial 20 working days period to help rebuild their livelihoods and involve them directly in their communities’ recovery efforts.   

Earlier today, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme Resident Representative, Knut Ostby together with UN colleagues and a government delegation led by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment, Taina Tagicakibau and the Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture Keshwa Reddy, visited communities in Rakiraki that benefitted from the cash-for-work programme. The group visited the Vaileka market area as well as the Tokaimalo community, where the cash-for-work has supported the replanting of crops.

“The cash-for-work programme seeks to assist the financial recovery of flood affected men and women by providing a temporary source of cash income in exchange for work related to livelihoods and improving preparedness for future floods. Quick visible impact of the programme in the affected areas gives people hope and motivation to move forward,” said Mr Ostby.

“More can be done to build much needed resilience in the face of recurring floods and the UN system is keen to work with the Fiji government and other stakeholders with a view to making this happen,” he said.

A Letter of Agreement was signed between the UN and government teams to facilitate the implementation of early recovery work in Rakiraki.

Speaking at the signing, Ms Tagicakibau expressed appreciation of the UN’s work in assisting with early recovery through the cash-for-work programme.  She congratulated the participants of the cash-for-work programme, especially the women, who make up 85 percent of the beneficiaries. Ms Tagicakibau said the women were instrumental in identifying the type of work they could do to restore the Vaileka and they worked hard to achieve this.

Voices of the Women in the Programme
Litiana Suluka is one of the 300 women who have participated in the cash-for-work programme.
“After the recent floods, I had no crops to sell at the market. The cash-for-work programme came just at the right time and I was able to earn money and continue to support my family,” said the 50 year old Vaileka resident.

Ms Suluka said she helped with cleaning the drains, gardens and surroundings in Rakiraki town.
Anjula Devi is another beneficiary of the cash-for-work programme.

“I have helped clean up in Rakiraki town after the floods and I have helped with general cleaning and planting. I am proud to be part of the cash-for-work programme,” she said.

Eta Ratu from Tokaimalo community, more than an hour’s drive from Vaileka town, was the key person behind getting a field prepared for dalo and cash crops as part of the cash-for-work programme.
“Together with the women in our village, we have helped to weed and clear the land for planting. The men in our village helped plough the land and we have planted dalo and beans. These will be sold at the market once they are ready,” she said.

The cash-for-work programme is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from UN Women, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UN Volunteers. It has brought hope to the flood affected market vendors in Rakiraki. It has brought quick and visible results and has helped increase the community’s resilience.

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For more information: please contact Shobhna Decloitre, UNDP Communications Specialist on Shobhna.decloitre@undp.org, or (679) 9926396