11 ECs receive solar lighting system

Caption: Paptea District School manager Mr. Harold Filipe at the school’s hall that was recently fitted with solar lighting in Rotuma.

ROTUMA – Eleven community evacuation centres on the island of Rotuma have been boosted with the installation of solar lighting systems.

They are Paptea, Oinafa, Lopta Community Hall, Malha’a District Hall, Itumuta District Hall, Pepjei District Hall, Noatau District Hall, Juju District Hall, Christ the King Primary School, Ituti’u District Hall, and the Ahau Pavilion

The project is part of the National Disaster Management Office’s (NDMO) intention to align its plan towards one of the core objectives set out in the Government’s 5-year and 20-year National Development Plan of achieving 100 per cent electricity generation through renewable energy sources by 2036.

The project is implemented with the support of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Disaster Resilience Programme.

Pepjei villager Ms. Jeanmarie Tolo says the installation of solar lighting at the district community hall would greatly assist them during future disasters.

Previously, villagers have had to seek refuge in the mountains, without access to proper lighting.

“Before we used to have only our lanterns and when there’s a disaster, we run up to our evacuation centre, there was not any light and we have to take care of our elderly people and it used to be very hard for us to stay with them out there. But now we had solar lighting installed at our community hall and we are sure that we will be safe here in our hall during times of disaster,” she said.

Today, the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka also handed over the solar lighting system for Paptea at the Paptea District School hall.

School manager Mr. Harold Filipe says with the absence of proper lighting at the school hall in the past, women and men have had to rely on battery lights while being billeted at the hall during disasters.

“But now we have the solar and it will benefit us a lot; especially for the women and children who will use this solar lighting system,” he said.

Community health worker Ms. Makarite Takino from the district of Itumuta are one of the many women who have acknowledged Government and development partners from Australia for this project.

“Before, sometimes when we have to move into the hall for evacuation at night, we have to come up with our torches because there is no solar or proper lighting. It used to be very difficult for my family and other community members. After the DFAT assisted with the installation of solar lights, we are really happy. In the future we will be using these lights and we thank DFAT for their assistance to the people,” Ms Takino said.

In his remarks at the handover of these solar system lighting, Hon. Ditoka acknowledged the funding assistance provided by our development partners at DFAT.

He said the provision of the solar systems would ensure that the 11 communities were provided electrification and proper lighting during and after a disaster.

“As an alternative source of electrification, this will ensure the safety and security of affected communities during times of disasters, and will certainly mitigate any concerns on safety that may arise during the occupation of these evacuation centres,” Hon. Ditoka stated.

In addition to this, the project also included the installation of an upgraded High Frequency (HF) Radio system at the Office of the District Officer (DO) Rotuma by the NDMO.

This will ensure that the Rotuma Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) is well-equipped and ready to accommodate any disaster operation. 

Caption: Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka tries out the newly upgraded HF Radio system installed at the Office of the DO Rotuma in Ahau.


The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management is responsible for implementing development strategies that bring Fijians living in rural and maritime regions the same level of access to essential services and economic opportunities as anywhere else in the country. We coordinate and implement the Fiji Government’s rural and maritime development initiatives with a mission to empower Fiji’s rural sector. We also spearhead disaster risk reduction initiatives at national and sub-national level including disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. We have offices for each of Fiji’s 14 provinces including Rotuma, leading the Fiji Government’s rural development and disaster risk management operations.

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For press enquiries: Aqela Susu, MRMDDM, Tel. +679 3216456/+679 9985670,

Email: aqela.susu@govnet.gov.fj/susuaqela@gmail.com