7 Mar 2005

Fiji's Red Cross concerned about risk of outbreak of disease in squatter area

8:32 pm on 7 March 2005

Fiji's Red Cross says it is concerned that people affected by the landslides caused by heavy rain, are at risk of an outbreak of disease.

The homes of twenty families were destroyed in the Baulevu area and it's estimated that another 80 families are at risk after houses were damaged or were caked in mud as a result of the landslides.

The Red Cross's Disaster Manager, Vuli Gauna says the area is full of squatter families of farmers who moved there after their leases expired and they had nowhere else to go.

Mr Gauna says an outbreak of disease is now a big concern.

"Most of these houses were really in very poor condition before the flooding even. And, this has raised a lot of risk of probably an outbreak of some diseases soon if they don't move or that is not taken care of immediately."

Mr Gauna says families have been told by authorities that they have to move but they have nowhere to go.

There are local media reports of criticisms from the squatters over the lack of government assistance.