SUVA, July 4, Xinhua -- The Fijian government has invested millions of U.S. dollars for infrastructure to build stronger schools, sea walls and flood resistance waterways.
Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said this was why 651 million Fijian dollars (about 308 million U.S. dollars) was allocated for climate action in the 2018/2019 budget.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) on Wednesday, Sayed-Khaiyum said this would ensure the economy was engineered to weather any storm.
He said the Fijian government wanted to ensure stronger schools, sea walls, sustainable energy and flood resistance waterways.
Climate Champion for 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Chiange (COP 23), and Minister for Agriculture and Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu said the allocation was critical to building resilient communities.
Seruiratu said the Fijian government aimed to take proactive measures to protect all Fijians, its pristine resources and economic future from climate-induced threats.
The new budget allocation comes with 18 projects designated as climate adaptation and eight as climate mitigation.
Earlier the World Bank had approved a 50-million-U.S. dollar loan to the Fijian government to support the country's response to Category 5 Cyclone Winston.
The Fiji Post-Cyclone Winston Emergency Development Policy Operation supports efforts to protect the most vulnerable through cash transfers and supports broader cyclone-recovery efforts.
"The biggest impacts from cyclone Winston have been felt in the poorest parts of Fiji, where core livelihoods such as fishing and agriculture can take several years to recover," said Mona Sur, World Bank acting country director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands.
Cyclone Winston was the strongest cyclone recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, killing 44 people and leaving a trail of destruction across large parts of Fiji.
The total damage and losses resulting from cyclone Winston are estimated at 1.38 billion U.S. dollars (31 percent of GDP), including 959 million U.S. dollars in damage and losses to Fiji's productive, social and infrastructure sectors. Nearly 130,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, affecting approximately 15 percent of Fiji's total population.
"Cyclone Winston had a devastating impact that will be felt in Fiji for years to come," said minister Sayed--Khaiyum.
"We are currently in the process of rebuilding our damaged homes, schools and infrastructure and we will use this loan to help meet our commitment to make our buildings stronger and more resilient," he told the World Bank.
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