US Ambassador Breaks Ground on Climate Change Adaptation Project in Fiji

October 1, 2015 US Ambassador Judith Cefkin visited the Village of Daku, Tai Levu, Fiji to inaugurate a rehabilitated floodgate system—a project that will offer the community immediate relief against flood waters that inundate the village thus mitigating the threat to property and livelihoods from the adverse effects brought about by climate change.

The project is funded by the American people through the USAID/Coastal Community Adaptation Project (C-CAP) and has been developed in conjunction with the Fijian Office of iTaukei Affairs and members of the Daku community. USAID/C-CAP also works with the National Disaster Management Office on disaster risk response planning and training in Daku.

“Climate change is a priority of the U.S. Government and we are aware of its effects on the coastal communities of the Pacific Islands,” Ambassador Cefkin said. “We remain committed to working with your community and the Government of Fiji in preparing for a more climate- resilient future.”

The cumulative effect of intense rainfall episodes, king tides, frequent storm surges, coupled with inadequate flow control/flood management infrastructure had led to chronic flooding of the village. The USAID/C-CAP project uses ‘Tideflex” technology as a cost-effective, low maintenance and durable solution that provides cost and sustainability improvements compared to traditional floodgate structures. With an innovative valve, it is designed to protect the low lying village during heavy rainfall and saltwater intrusion by automatically activating when water pressure builds up, and preventing backflow to flood-prone areas – a substantial improvement over hand operated gates. USAID/C-CAP has funded a similar floodgate rehabilitation project in the villages of Vunisinu and Nalase where two Tideflex valves were also installed. The project will be inaugurated on October 2nd.

USAID/C-CAP builds the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities in the Pacific Island region to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. Activities include rehabilitating and constructing new, small-scale community infrastructure; building capacity for community engagement for disaster prevention and preparedness; and integrating climate resilient policies and practices into long-term land use plans and building standards.

For more information contact: Shivanjani Naidu, Regional Media Affairs Specialist on 3314466 (ext: 8190) NaiduSM@state.gov Or visit the website of USAID/Pacific Islands at http://www.usaid.gov/pacific-islands