25 Mar 2004

Fiji families to continue living in sub-standard Suva housing despite eviction notices

4:11 pm on 25 March 2004

More than 300 families who are tenants of Fiji's state-owned Public Rental Board have been told to vacate their flats in Suva or risk serious injury or death.

The Fiji Sun says the board issued the warning to 330 families after engineers condemned the 1960s-built low-cost flats as unsafe and in danger of collapse.

More than two thousand people live in the flats.

The board's general manager, Mesake Senibulu, says safety is their main concern and they have told the tenants to stop paying rent and leave immediately.

But the tenants say they have nowhere to go and are prepared to die if the buildings collapse.

A 60 year old tenant, Watisoni Seru, is quoted as saying they have to be in Suva for the sake of their children's education and are willing to risk living in the flats.

Mr Seru says the housing minister, Mataiasi Raqiqia, has told them to throw away the eviction notices and continue living in the flats until they are relocated in several years.