28 Sep 2010

Drought worsens plight of Fiji's poor

4:11 pm on 28 September 2010

An organisation set up to help alleviate poverty in Fiji says poor people are struggling even more due to the unusually long dry season.

The Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development in Fiji works on social and economic empowerment projects in poor rural communities.

Its director, Sashi Kiran, says about 45 percent of people in Fiji live under the poverty line and the lack of rain has compounded the problem.

"We're very hopeful that in the next month or so rains will come and things will change a little bit. And people are diversifying, so where agriculture is a problem we are hoping that people can live off the oceans and the rivers. And we'll be trying our best to look at long term options where when we know there's an impending drought, how do we preserve food, or how do we preserve income."

Sashi Kiran says limited revenues due to the dry weather means more people consume substandard food and fewer children attend school because parents can't afford to send them.