WIT Press


CHALLENGES FOR SELF-RECOVERY FROM CYCLONE DISASTERS IN A TRADITIONAL FIJIAN VILLAGE: THE CASE OF NAVALA VILLAGE AFTER TROPICAL CYCLONE WINSTON

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/DMAN170161

Volume

173

Pages

12

Page Range

161 - 172

Published

2017

Size

512 kb

Author(s)

MARI MIYAJI, AYAKO FUJIEDA, SAINIMERE VEITATA WAQALEVU, HIROHIDE KOBAYASHI

Abstract

Fiji is often affected by cyclones because of its geographic conditions. In February 2016, Fiji was hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston, the biggest cyclone to occur in the region in the last 20 years. The government of Fiji estimated that approximately 540,000 people were affected and almost 30,000 houses were destroyed. A severely damaged area during the cyclone was Ba Province, where Navala village is located. The village abounds with Fijian traditional houses called bure. Some bures were destroyed by the cyclone, and the total number of bures has decreased consequent to the introduction of new building materials, such as iron sheeting and concrete. According to a report by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, more than half the bures in Navala withstood the cyclone. Therefore, this research aims to observe the impacts of the cyclone on bures in Navala, and identify the disaster response and recovery process of the village community. This research was conducted through a literature review as well as qualitative and quantitative questionnaire surveys on 72 households in Navala. The research results show that the village community cooperates to maintain the bures in ordinary life, and thus could repair them quickly after the cyclone. In addition, they will start self-reconstructing 14 bures this year without outside support and allowances. The questionnaire surveys found that 70% of the respondents considered bures as safer than modern houses, as the flying iron sheet roofs on modern houses might injure people, while thatched roofs pose no danger. Furthermore, bure collapse slowly, giving time to escape, and even after collapsing, retain the inner space in which to survive. In conclusion, the village community is resistant to cyclones and has the potential for community-based disaster recovery after a cyclone.

Keywords

Republic of Fiji, traditional house, cyclone, disaster response, recovery process, resilience