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Seawall construction for Dakuinuku village commences

Minister for Waterways, Environment and Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy and Chief Executive Officer of Basic Industries, Ritesh Dass at the ground breaking ceremony. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

Posted on October 11, 2021

A 250-metre-long seawall is beginning construction in Dakuinuku, Tailevu, which is expected to protect more than 250 villagers and 50 homes.

Relocation of houses due to coastal flooding and coastal erosion is not an option for the villagers of Dakuinuku, Tailevu.

The Ministry of Waterways will oversee the project with an agreement from Basic Industries Limited who will finance the construction work under their corporate social responsibility.

While officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony, Minister for Waterways, Environment and Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy highlighted that innovative thinking is vital when dealing with nature, reiterating the importance of Eco-Friendly Nature-Based Seawalls.

Dr Reddy applauded the initiative of the Basic Industries in supporting the Fijian Government’s effort towards building resilience amongst the coastal communities, which are the most vulnerable to climate change.

He stated that relocating should be the last option for the village and the government is determined to protect traditional land for coastal communities.

“I have noted how communities are now being threatened, due to issues related to climate change. Our forefathers settled at coastal areas or river beds several decades ago for a reason, because their lifestyle, their livelihood, and their culture were all connected to water and oceans,” Dr Reddy said.

“Our heritage is linked. Our forefathers have been buried here. We will do everything possible to protect our communities from being relocated from the areas where their cultural heritage has been founded. Our Prime Minister is leading the battle against climate change, and we will do everything possible to ensure that communities are protected,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Basic Industries, Ritesh Dass commended the initiatives of the Ministry of Waterways using Nature-Based approaches to protect the Dakuinuku community.

“We owe our existence to the Fijian communities and our obligation stretches beyond delivering commercial objectives and maximising shareholder returns,” Mr Dass said.

Meanwhile, for 59-year-old Sereana Duvaga who lives close to the sea in the village, coastal flooding has been a concern as houses used to get flooded during high tides.

“During the cyclone, the entire village had to evacuate and seek shelter either at RKS School or at the church hall,” Duvaga said.

“The women in the village cannot practice floriculture or any other agricultural activity because of seawater intrusion.

“We thank the government of the day, the Ministry of Waterways, for the construction of the seawall that will not protect our village and our ancestral land.”

Close to 250 meters of a hybrid sea wall, will be built by the Ministry of Waterways with bouldering work, backfill work, rows of mangroves (as a first), and vetiver planting (last line of defence) to protect the village coastline.


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