10 Jun 2021

Fiji govt urged to form clear plan on social support amid outbreak

8:39 pm on 10 June 2021

Fiji's government is being urged to form a clear strategy on social support as families struggle in the country's Covid-19 outbreak.

This picture taken on April 26, 2021 shows security officers checking cars along a road in Suva after the Fijian capital entered a 14-day lockdown following a Covid-19 spike following a "superspreader" funeral event.

Photo: AFP

The call comes as a surge in food shortages has Fiji's charities run off their feet, while health authorities struggle to contain the spread of the virus on the main island Viti Levu.

The CEO of the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development, Sashi Kiran, said her charity was receiving up to 500 requests from families for help each day.

"We have been able to serve about three hundred families a day, and that's been largely in the lockdown areas of Lautoka and Nadi, but there are requests coming from all over the west and now Suva as well."

According to Kiran, the government's responses to the outbreak have lacked clear direction for the public at a time when families were hit hard by loss of livelihood - especially those who have lost jobs in tourism and other sectors.

"Government needs to basically open their arms to other sectors and have a bi-partisan conversation about what needs to happen," she said.

Kiran said the public needed to be shown clear cut plans in order for them to know what safety measures to follow.

"For example, borders were opened in the middle of the night, and early morning everybody just went without following any procedures.

"So there needs to be clarity of plan. Communication has to be translated, everybody has to know where we're headed," she said.

"And we may have to have lockdowns to contain the growing problem, but it has to come with social protection support for the citizens.

"There has to be some recovery plans for the business sector, for them to be able to pick up themselves. And it has to be done sooner rather than later. The more we prolong it the more the economy will suffer and people will suffer."

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