THE Parliamentary Opposition is calling on the Government to seriously take into consideration the rehabilitation package for the 2014 April flash flood victims.
In a statement, Leader of Opposition Jeremiah Manele said “we understand that the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination has already finalized a rehabilitation package for the 2014 April flash flood victims”.
As such, he said the right thing to do is for Cabinet to approve the rehabilitation program.
“Swift action from the Government is needed amidst reports of increase in anti-social behaviors amongst the victims.
“The Government must seriously consider the rehabilitation of the flood victims; as delaying it may have a rippling effect especially on the peace and social harmony in surrounding communities and Honiara city as a whole.
“This can further create more hardship on the lives of our already traumatized people,” Mr Manele said.
He said the Opposition is also concerned that the land allocated to the victims by the previous Government has now been put out on tender for the public.
“It is in the best interest of the victims that the original intention of the land at April Hill remains a priority for the victims.
“Whilst we understand that there is a standard procedure of acquiring state land, the government has to ensure that these victims must be treated fairly on the basis of humanitarian grounds.
“With the current approach of tendering land to the public, there is a high possibility that the victims can be further victimized by being excluded from selection due to not meeting certain requirements because of their already vulnerable situations.
“This can only cause more problems because the struggling families will not afford to acquire plots of land for themselves.
“Not only that, but building a recommended home based on the value of the land would be impractical.
“These are areas that DCC should take into account as they roll off the rehabilitation program,” he said.
Therefore, the Opposition Leader recommended that DCC come up with a clear policy regarding victims of natural disaster and ensure the government is prepared to work together with other stakeholders to formulate a work program that can accommodate the holistic rehabilitation of the victims.
He said this should also be applicable to any victims of natural disasters that may occur in the future.
Apart from that, he said DCC should also include in its work program an established Rehabilitation Center that would provide social and spiritual enrichment programs to help victims as part of its rehabilitation platform.