Rabi, Hurricane, Rinakama, Bole in NZ ....

Short Briefs
The map shows, from north to south,  Eastern Vanua Levu to Udu Point; the Tunuloa peninsula, Vanua Levu, with Kioa (home to Fiji's Tuvaluans) and Rabi islands; and the northern tip of Taveuni. 

Rabi island, home of Fiji's Banaban population, was in the direct path of the hurricane but as far as I can tell there's been no official mention of Australian or NZ reconnaisance flights, deaths, damage or relief supplies, although government apparently tried to make contact with the island before the hurricane hit.

We do have a report from Michael Field in Stuff ("Devastated Pacific island facing starvation") that the island is "facing starvation and disease." The report cites Dr Bauro Vanualaila, Rabi Council chairman speaking from Suva,  saying the island "is devastated". One person is dead, many houses are destroyed, "all the food crops and fruit trees have gone [and it] will take just another day or two [before] people will starve if no food arrives on the island."

We have not heard what government is doing but the Banaban community in Fiji and abroard seems likely to beat them to it. Thanks to them, food and medical supplies will have reached the island by now.See these Banaban web sites to see how quickly a community can be mobilised. Michael's article provides useful background information on how Banabans came to be in Fiji.

Bad as the situation must have seemed, I doubt there was any likelihood of imminent starvation. The roots of ruined crops like tavioka and dalo are edible long after their tops are destroyed, there are fish in the sea, and the villagers must have had some food stored.

None of the hotels or resorts in the Northern and Eastern Divisions belonging to the Fiji Islands Hotels and Tourism Association (FIHTA) says none of its members operating hotels and resorts in the Northern and Eastern divisions sustained major damages from the hurricane. Members in Savusavu, Taveuni and Labasa were coping well, said FIHTA president Dixon Seeto. "The hotels have their own water tanks and generators, so they are pretty independent," he said.

(-) The whereabouts of Peceli Rinakama, arrested by the military two weeks ago, is still not known and there are growing concerns about his safety. Government has issued conflicting reports, one saying he was released which seems unlikely because someone would have reported seeing him, the other saying he was still detained. Would some reader in or close to government or the military please try to find out what has happened to him, and let this blog know through a named or anonymous comment?

(o) Bole in NZ. Education Minister Filipe Bole has been allowed to enter NZ to attend an Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) ministerial meeting in Manukau today. NZ Foreign Affairs said "Our policy on travel sanctions has always been that we consider applications on a case by case basis, and in situations where we feel it is beneficial to the region as a whole to allow Fiji to participate in a regional meeting being held in New Zealand, we reserve the right to waive the restrictions in place."

Daylight saving in Fiji will end this Sunday 28th March at 3.00 am. Clocks need to be wound back one hour. Daylight savings will again commence from 24th October this year to March 2011. 

(+) Guarantee to FSC. Cabinet has  approved a Government Guarantee of $120 million to the Fiji Sugar Corporation to allow the FSC to borrow short term to meet its working capital requirements.

Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day and National Youth Day
will still be celebrated next year but not as public holidays.  government thinks the country has too many public holidays, and their removal should help productivity. Those remaining are New Year's Day, Christmas, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Queen's Birthday, Diwali, Prophet Mohammed's Birthday and Fiji Day. The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation reports that some prankster or protester had "sabotaged the FBC news item, incorrectly twisting it to write that the Easter Friday and Easter Monday public holidays had been scrapped."

Comments

joe said…
What is the logic behind keeping Queens b/day and ditching Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna day. Pardon my ignorance, may be someone can explain it to me.
Sleepless said…
Daylight Savings too should be scrapped for ever.
TheMax said…
Hi Cros,

I just noticed you still have the Peceli Rinakama missing story on your page when I surfed your blog today. I just wanted to put the matter to rest.

Last Saturday, I was standing near a church in downtown Suva and saw Mr Rinakama crossing the street just in front of me. He actually looked well wearing a pair of shorts, canvas/sneaker and a nice jersey (I think it was a Fiji Rugby souvenir jersey, must have worn the jesrsey in support of the Fiji 7s team).

I was even surprised to see him looking well and good considering I've been reading so much negative news about his arrest on the different blogs.

So please end this rumour mongering and let's move on. I'm pretty sure Mr Rinakama must have joined the RFMF guys at Nabua for a grog session after his "arrest" from the Qaranivalu's residence weeks ago.

BTW, you've been doing a good job. Keep it up and just like the passing of the health care bill in the United States congress yesterday, the naysayers will continue to lie about everything done to make lives better because they can't look beyond the tip of their ugly noses. Their narrow-mindedness stinks like the Kinoya sewerage treatment plant I get depressed reading their comments. I've decided to stop going to there sites.

Happy days Cros.

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