Combined damage to infrastructure exceeds $27m with FRA hard hit

Estimated total damage to Fiji’s infrastructure by TD03F and Tropical Cyclone Cody stands at nearly $27.5 million, according to Minister Infrastructure Jone Usamate.

Of the total estimated cost, Water Authority of Fiji sustained approximately $1.65 million in damages to its infrastructure, Fiji Roads Authority was hit hardest with cost of damage estimated at $25 million and EFL, $800,000.

These estimated costs however do not include costs incurred by these infrastructure entities to respond to TC Cody.

As of yesterday, water services have been fully restored in all areas except for Tavua and Sigatoka at 95 per cent and Ba, 80 per cent. In terms of provision of power, EFL have restored power supply to all of Fiji except Colata in Korovou and Yaloku in Ba.

For Fiji Roads infrastructure, repairs and clearing of roads particularly unsealed roads and low level crossing continue, but work has been hampered by continuous rain. FRA will also be sending a team to the Lau and Lomaiviti groups to carry out scoping works before contractors are sent across to restore unsealed roads.

  • Water Authority of Fiji (Extracted from J.Usamate ministerial statement dated 19/01/22)
    • WAF water and wastewater infrastructure in the Western division was significantly affected by rapid water flow, landslides, fallen trees and blockages to the outlet pipes from dams.
    • Six out of the nine urban water systems nationwide were affected due to heavy rains & major flooding, and blocked intakes that affected the raw water pump stations and gravity dams. The Ba, Lautoka and Nadi wastewater systems were also seriously affected and a total of 55 rural water schemes sustained damages.

“In total, estimated damages to WAF infrastructure are approximately $1.65 million. This, of course, is in addition to the additional increase in operating expenditure to respond to TC Cody. During, and in the aftermath of TD03F and TC Cody, WAF had to hire additional resources to restore and ensure services to the customers as quickly as possible, including the hiring of standby generators for the water & wastewater pump stations, water carts to provide water to affected customers, excavators for repairs, maintenance and restoration works, and bailing trucks for bailing of wastewater pump stations without EFL power supply.”

  • Energy Fiji Limited
    • Energy infrastructure sustained approximately $800,000 in damages on top of the additional operating costs of responding to the cyclone.
    • As of yesterday, EFL engineers have restored power supply to all of Fiji except Colata in Korovou and Yaloku in Ba. The [delay in restoring power to these areas] is due to the difficulty of getting their engineers to the damaged infrastructure.

“EFL is working closely with our disaster officials to overcome these issues of access and restore power to all Fijians.”

  • Fiji Roads Authority
    • Most of the damage is to unsealed roads and low level crossings. It will cost FRA over $6 million to open up the roads so that they are usable.
  • “We continue to have afternoon rains, and thus many of our low level crossing are going under water, because the soli still saturated with water. This is happening mainly in Labasa, Seqaqa, Tailevu, Namosi, Ba & Tavua.
    • Most of the damage has been seen in the Northern and Western Division , and particularly in the interior of the main islands.
      Also, there are several landslides in central division. These are always expensive to restore when compared to the cost of restoring unsealed roads.
    • FRA personnel will be departing for detailed scoping works in Lau and Lomaiviti Group and FRA contractors are on stand by to carry out remedial works.
    • FRA personnel and contractors are working long hours to restore the roads to safe level of service, however afternoon rains are hampering these efforts.
      Unsealed roads are still soft underfoot and there hasn’t been enough sunshine to dry off the saturated road base. Most of the drains have silted due to continuous rain runoff migrating the silt to the outlets. FRA contractors have been on the ground everyday clearing the built up silt near the outlets.
  • Major FRA projects have slowed down due to rain, which we had anticipated between mid-December and mid-February. Sealed road re-construction works will recommence as soon as we have clear weather.
    • Our programme to replace dilapidated jetties in our maritime islands will continue so that we can further improve accessibility and the delivery of services to these islands.
  • “We have 40 critical bridges that need to be fixed, and the work to prepare and design the replacement bridges is currently taking place.”
    • FRA is currently completing a total of 14 Bridges, has completed seven new crossings, and refurbished five old crossings with new decks, approach slabs and bank protection.
    • FRA is now looking to seal more of Fiji’s unsealed Main Supply Routes over time. This will be based on expected annual maintenance savings, and road user request by rural community for better climate resilient access via our main supply unsealed road network.

Photo: Mai TV/File

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