Fijians living in rural areas can now build better and stronger homes according to an upgraded housing plan newly issued by the Ministry of Housing of the Pacific Island country.

Minister Premila Kumar said that as the frequent and increasing occurrence of natural disasters have impacted on the housing infrastructure in Fiji, the plan is introduced in a bid to provide safer and cost-effective housing options to Fijians living in rural areas.

The cost of building the two-bedroom house in the plan stands at about 21,000 Fijian dollars (10,300 US dollars), reported the FijiVillage news website on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

Kumar said more Fijians will benefit from more resilient houses built through this plan and feel safe knowing their homes will be strong enough to withstand extreme weather conditions.

Fiji was hit by severe cyclones in recent years, including Pam, Yasa and Harold in 2020, which caused widespread devastations.

The plan can be accessed and downloaded free from the ministry's website, with a complete set of engineering drawings and list of materials, said media reports.

Kumar said this core house has a block wall structure and includes a living area, kitchen and sanitation facilities.

She noted that in case of unforeseen emergency such as a cyclone, this can act as a "safe house".

Kumar said the living room can easily be converted into a smaller bedroom or serve as a storage space in preparing for evacuation or as transitional shelter for a household given other parts of the house are damaged in a strong cyclone.