Bushfire impact

Bushfire impact

09 June 2012

published by www.fijitimes.com

Fiji — SMALL income-generating businesses have been affected by bushfires that have left smouldering hills in a region between Lautoka and Ba.

Areas affected by clouds of smoke emanating from the bushfire are Tuvu, Matawalu, Teidamu and other nearby settlements. Two schools are also situated in these areas.

Foundation of Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND), which has its main office at Tuvu in Lautoka, says the fire will affect poor families living in the affected areas.

FRIEND spokesman Ranbeer Singh said some people living in those villages and neighbouring settlements depended on seasonal fruits like mandarine, lemons and mangoes.

Mangoes are just coming into season and most people would soon be selling them near our roads but the trees in these areas have been completely destroyed, he said.

Mr Singh, who visited the affected areas on Wednesday, said they also noticed farm animals moving away from the aread.

From what we saw, goats and cows were loose and trying to get to somewhere safe. This shows that animal farmers in these areas will also be affected, he said.

The non-governmental organisation supports the efforts of communities towards development through social and economic empowerment for rural communities.

Mr Singh also raised health concerns that may arise from the constant cloud of smoke that continued to hover over the areas.

He also suggested there should be more community awareness programs on the dangers of bushfires and its implications.

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