Saturday, July 12, 2008

Very sad Taveuni story, boy dies when coconut falls on his head and the power's out at the hospital

This is a terrible story. It illustrates so much of the current Fiji reality. When we lived there, we used to joke about getting hit on the head by a coconut - (an event much more serious than it sounds) but it was still funny to think about, and there was electricity most of the time in the newly built hospital. The last coup resulted in an interim government back by the military. Now the economy, which was never strong to begin with, is falling, has totally fallen apart. Services are at an all time low. Tourism is down. Local newspaper publishers have been ushered out of the country. It's not business as usual, and it's heartbreaking for a country we grew to love, who even at its best, had little material wealth. The whole situation has grown much more dire.

What's interesting too about this article, it displays the exact kind of daily difficulty experienced everyday in Fiji: no electricity so the Rotary Club willing to donate a generator, but the Works Department needing to use their own electrician for the hook-up, and not doing so. Ah....

Student dies: Coconut falls on boy's head at school

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A STUDENT felled by a coconut on the head on a school playground on Friday died after being sent home because there was no electricity in an island hospital.

The Class Seven student of Somosomo District School, on Taveuni, was rushed to hospital but relatives were told to take him home.

Sources on Taveuni say the dead boy comes from the chiefly tribes in Somosomo Village. His name could not be divulged.

"They were playing when a coconut hit his head and he fell down a steep hill close to the school," the source said.

Police spokeswoman Ema Mua confirmed that, saying police could not reveal the identity of the 12-year-old student.

On Friday our Northern bureau reported that a State policy had left the Taveuni Hospital without any electricity.

That prompted medical officials there to close the mortuary. Sub-divisional medical officer Taveuni Doctor Hlathein Thein said because of continuous electricity supply problems experienced since the beginning of this year, they decided it was best to use a generator donated by the Rotary Club of Taveuni.

"But before we can change to using our own generator, the Works Department needs to do all the clearance. They need their own electrician to do this," he said.

"For the past week we have been without electricity. Emergency cases have been referred to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva," Dr Thein said.

However, Ministry of Works spokesperson Sainiana Waqainabete denied such a policy, saying the hospital had every right to change generators if the PWD generator was damaged.

"There is no such policy ... hospitals anywhere in Fiji can use their own generator if they wish when it comes to such a situation. We don't need to clear anything or have our own electrician to do clearance work," she said. (continued)

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