Twenty-one people are confirmed dead, four missing and more than 2,300 people are still sheltering in 71 evacuation centres. Whole villages have been destroyed, particularly on the island of Koro where a relief and assessment ship is being deployed.
UnitingWorld staff member Rev Dr Cliff Bird reports from Suva:
“The destruction has been widespread and very bad. The Lau group of islands, Koro Island, villages on Vanua Levu and their township Savusavu have been hit very badly. Hundreds of homes have been lost, infrastructure damaged, farms, vegetable gardens, livelihoods destroyed. Water and power supply to many areas are still down.”
Our partner, the Methodist Church in Fiji, is the largest denomination in the country, covering an extensive network across 55 districts.
National Director of UnitingWorld Rob Floyd has spoken with President of the Church, Rev Tevita Bainivanua and has offered immediate emergency relief and longer term disaster recovery.
Fiji’s President Rev Tevita has opened all church buildings for emergency shelter and has directed ministers throughout the country to assess and report on the extent of the damage, with a Disaster Response Team set up. The loss of life has been largely limited due to the preparedness of the government of Fiji, with communities advised early of the location of 700 emergency shelters via media and an extensive network of church communications. Curfews also helped to limit injuries.
All funds raised through this appeal will be used to support UCA church partner’s relief efforts, including re-establishing healthcare and schools, replanting crops and livelihoods and ‘building back better’ to safeguard communities against future cyclones.
Call UnitingWorld on 1800 998 122 or visit www.unitingworld.org.au
Image by UnitingWorld via Twitter.