16 Sep 2009

Fiji squatters repair their own road after damage made it unpassable

7:19 pm on 16 September 2009

A key road into a squatter settlement in Suva in Fiji has just been paid for and fixed entirely by the people living along it.

Patterson Drive, an old disused roadway, has just been re-opened, with certification from Fiji's Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities.

Father Kevin Barr of Fiji's Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, says the residents on Patterson Drive were helped by his agency's People's Community Network for squatters.

"It was an old road but it was in very bad repair. Taxis wouldn't go along there. Kids had to go to school. People going to these various villages found it difficult, particularly the people who were sick or women who were pregnant. So the road was an important link but they did the work themselves. They made this beautiful cement road."

Father Barr says around 20-percent of Suva city's population live in squatter settlements.