The Office of the Opposition has expressed sadness with the government and the people of Fiji and the people of Vanuatu and students living in Fiji over the devastation and loss of lives from the Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston last weekend.

A statement issued Sunday afternoon by the Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, says the Office of the Opposition is extremely disappointed to see that after Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji where many ni-Vanuatu students are studying in schools and universities and the good people of Fiji are facing hardships, the Government of Vanuatu has not yet come out with plans for assistance.

“Vanuatu must be reminded that we went through a similar tragedy and Fiji assisted us in a huge way and sent its technical people to come and assist us,” the statement reads.

“The Office of the Opposition wants to tell the Government that we must tell ourselves that it is enough of planning in a reactionary manner and to start adopting proactive measures so we are ready to tackle problems before they overcome us.

“The problem of being reactionary has led us to become victims in a big way in natural disasters such as Cyclone Pam.

“When we received a forecast for rain tomorrow, we must be ready with the umbrella today,” the statement continues.

It says the Government made a reserve of around Vt1.3 billion last year, which showed the prudent management of the previous Government. But this must allow the country to be more active and prepared for natural disasters that may affect us, our friends and our families.

“With the predictions of Tropical Cyclone Winston, the technical people of Vanuatu should already have already sat down and put together a package for Government to apply in times like these so we can come out quickly and provide assurance to our people who live in Fiji and the Government of Fiji,” the statement from the Leader of the Opposition says.

“It is not possible at this day and age for the performance of any Government of the day to show idleness on the part of government on issues that affect the lives of the people.”

The Opposition urges the government to reflect and regenerate the country’s response time on issues such as these when information received showed they would happen so that the government can plan to tackle them it in a way that minimize their effects and show the people the government is ready and capable of looking after the welfare of everyone.

“The time for reaction should have been yesterday (Saturday). Even just a word of support would already a huge gesture,” speaking of Vanuatu’s reaction to the disaster in Fiji.

“The Office of the Opposition would like to take this opportunity to share its sadness with the Government and the people of Fiji over the tragedy they are facing and thank God Almighty for looking after our people in Fiji.”

The death toll from the cyclone in Fiji has reached 21 as of Monday evening according to Fiji Times Online quoting NDMO Director Akapusi Tuifagalele at a briefing Monday afternoon. It is expected to rise further.

Daily Post tried to contact Government leaders during the public holiday yesterday but could not reach any.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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