Wednesday 23rd December 2020
The National Federation Party has called on Energy Fiji Limited (EFL) to immediately remove broken power lines as well as broken or heavily tilted power poles from all roads in the Northern Division.
NFP Vice-President Parmod Chand said while they understand that damage to the power grid is extensive as a result of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa and will take some time to fully repair and restore electricity supply, EFL’s priority immediately after the cyclone should have been to ensure the road network is clear of any broken lines and damaged poles.
“The broken lines strewn on the roads including highways is a traffic hazard and we have found out that in many places roads, particularly rural ones are impassable because of this serious problem”.
“Already some vehicles have suffered damage as drivers attempt to cross over broken lines and debris from poles. This could result in a major road mishap especially at night when vision is poor, exacerbated by darkness due to the blackout. It is also an impediment to the smooth and safe operation of public transport”.
“The coming long weekend will see several hundred people travelling from Viti Levu, especially former Northern Division residents, to provide relief and assistance to their family members and victims of Severe TC Yasa and the last thing anyone needs right now is for the roads to be hazardous or impassable because of broken lines and damaged power poles”.
“EFL must consider it as a priority to clear all roads including rural roads of broken lines and poles to ensure the safety of motorists and travelling public”.
Meanwhile, Mr Chand has also called on government and donor agencies to distribute tents and tarpaulins to residents in worst-hit areas, especially farmers and the rural community to be used for both shelter and protection of their rice harvest from rain.
“Rice farmers who suffered damage to their silos urgently need tents and tarpaulin to keep their basic food source dry for their sustenance. A supply of these essential items will also ease the burden on government and other donors or good Samaritans from constantly supplying food rations for a prolonged length of time”.
“While individuals are doing their part in this regard, government and donor urgencies have the means and resources to provide quality water-proof tarpaulins and tents and we hope that this urgent plea by farmers in the rice belt of Fiji is heeded and fulfilled”.
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