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Rapid vulnerability and adaptation assessment of communities in Taveuni & Yanuca, Cakaudrove Province, Fiji

Yakub, Naushad and De Ramon N'Yeurt, Antoine and Vatukela, Jese R. and Oli, Kelera O. and Tuisavusavu, Ame R. (2011) Rapid vulnerability and adaptation assessment of communities in Taveuni & Yanuca, Cakaudrove Province, Fiji. [Professional and Technical Reports]

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A rapid vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) assessment was carried by a team of four staff and two Masters Students in Health from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development(PACE-SD), the University of the South Pacific (USP), from the 23rd to the 31st of October 2011. Three priority villages consisting of six sites were identified by the Roko Tui of Cakaudrove Province and visits were made to Naselesele and Qeleni villages in Taveuni, and Yanuca Island located about one an hour boat trip from Taveuni. The main objectives were to (i) assess the level of vulnerability of the sites identified, (ii) assess the level of community perception on climate change, (iii) assess the coast, water supply, health and sanitation, and (iv) gain traditional knowledge on techniques for food preservation and security. All of the sites were assessed as moderately vulnerable, with the main issues being coastal erosion (6 sites), flooding (1 site) and water availability and supply (3 sites). Naisogo Point and Vunitarawau sites on Taveuni had the most severe cases of erosion, while Qeleni Village was prone to frequent flooding and had the most problem with clean water availability. The quality of water was best at Naselesele village (spring and tap water on par with the mineral water control), while the water catchment and spring at Yanuca Island was found to be unfit for consumption with high sediment loads. However poor watershed management practices, including farming and animal husbandry uphill from water catchments were major issues leading to poor water quality. Qeleni village had the highest population, with 425 persons in 75 households, followed by Naselesele with 370 people in 58 households, while Yanuca Island had only a population of 115 persons distributed in 19 households. Sanitation practices varied among the three villages with poor management of liquid wastes in all villages, as well as indiscriminate dumping of rubbish in the sea. Management of human waste and personal hygiene was influenced by the availability of sufficient water supply, and fared the worst at Qeleni village. The highest incidences of childhood diseases were trachoma and sores, followed by ringworm infections. Only one incidence of scabies was noted. There was a direct inverse correlation between water availability and the incidence of hygiene-related diseases in children. Three species of mangroves were seen on Taveuni (Rhizophora samoensis, Rhizophora stylosa and Bruguiera gymnorhiza) and none on Yanuca. Very severe erosion at Vunitarawau near Qeleni displaced Rhizophora populations and brought Bruguiera populations to the forefront on the mudflats. Accretion of sand some distance from eroding sites was seen to affect seagrass beds which were smothered by sediments. Four species of seagrass were found in Taveuni and Yanuca (Halophila ovalis,Halodule uninervis, Halodule pinifolia and Syringodium isoetifolium). Seagrass beds in Naselesele had a rich biodiversity of invertebrates, with a notable absence of holothurians which were overfished for commercial purposes. A total of 35 species of marine algae were found at the Taveuni sites and 11 in Yanuca Island. Naselesele had the highest number of species, attributed to the still relatively healthy seagrass bed communities. Vunitarawai had the least number of species, associated with a state of severe coastal erosion. Red and Green algae were more abundant than brown algae, with a high incidence of green indicator algae species (Boodlea composita, Ulva spp.) at polluted sites. The three villages visited in this study had a good appreciation and wish to learn about the impacts of climate change, and were willing to take adaptive measures to protect their communities and livelihoods.

Item Type: Professional and Technical Reports
Uncontrolled Keywords: Taveuni, Fiji, Vulnerability, Adaptation, Assessment, Climate Change, Health, Food security, Watershed, Marine Ecosystems, Conservation
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD)
Depositing User: Antoine N'Yeurt
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2011 00:50
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2012 00:50

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