Investments in fibreglass boats ease transport challenges

April 18, 2024 6:07 am

The people of Yasawa village in the district of Tawake, Cakaudrove, are hopeful that they will soon have access to the majority of services provided in urban centres closer to home.

Village headman Joseva Valetudei highlighted that, being the remotest village in Vanua Levu with no road access, movement in and out of the village depends entirely on the tide since they rely on sea transport.

He says hiring a boat from Yasawa village to Wainigadru landing costs around $300 for the fuel, and from there to Labasa, villagers spend around $400 on other expenses, including transportation of market produce and shopping.

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Valetudei says now that villagers are investing in buying fibreglass boats, which somehow lightens the burden and also makes travelling easier and cheaper.

He adds that another challenge is the health services, since there is no sub-divisional hospital within the village’s proximity, and at times, they bury their loved ones on the same day since there is no mortuary.

“We don’t have a mortuary here or a subdivisional hospital, so at times, for emergency cases, we take them to Tawake Nursing Station, but if we have serious cases, it’s another expense for us to take them to either Savusavu or Labasa, but that will depend on the weather.”

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Filimoni Vosarogo, has acknowledged the struggles faced by villagers, especially the children and elderly, assuring the villagers that the government has not neglected the rural communities.

He says that development and services need to reach the remotest villages and communities around Fiji, but development plans are done accordingly with proper consultation, funding, and planning.