Alone with no power, water

Ram Devi (left) speaks to the PYGMIES founder Josateki Labalaba and Anare Tokalaulevu who provided assistance in cleaning up her compound at Lovu Seaside in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

A 79-YEAR-OLD Lautoka woman is living alone in decrepit and unsanitary conditions after allegedly being abandoned by her family.

Ram Devi lives in a cement board home at Vatamai on the outskirts of Lautoka without electricity or running water.

When approached by The Fiji Times, the septuagenarian said she was fearful of strangers because of the traumatic events that have led to her living on her own.

Ms Devi claimed her four sons had abandoned her after each got married. She also claimed that a grandson she helped rear had tricked her into signing over one of her properties and burnt her belongings once he had possession of her land.

Ms Devi’s plight was brought to the attention of The Fiji Times by PYGMIES (Providing Young Generations Movement In Every Situation) youth club president Josateki Labalaba.

“I picked her up from town one day and when I took her home and saw the way she was living, I was very emotional because no elderly person, especially a lady should be living like this,” he said.

“She collects water from a neighbour and sometimes they give her food as well.

“But the saddest thing is the poor condition of her toilet and bathroom.

“My youth group is willing to build her proper facilities but we need help with building materials.

“We are also asking for assistance with connecting water and power to her home.”

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa said she would look into Ms Devi’s issue by sending a member of her west team to survey her living quarters.

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