Editorial comment – For our loved ones, and Fiji

Adrea Kosi Rokodavui feels the $1000 assistance given by FNPF for those who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 is not enough. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The revelation that about 80 per cent of callers who sought counselling from Empower Pacific also requested for food assistance as well will attract attention.

In a report on Page 3 today, Empower Pacific CEO Patrick Morgam said the organisation referred those cases to relevant organisations.

He said they partnered with the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) Fiji that had recently established a food bank for families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We do get a lot of calls from people seeking help and while we offer counselling services, our organisation also helps in these areas whenever we can,” he said.

“With FRIEND Fiji, we are working closely with them in locating households that are in dire need of food supplies.”

The revelation touches the very heart of affected people.

It is difficult to identify people who are immune to the negative impact of COVID-19.

The virus has infected people across borders, and killed thousands around the world.

Back home, we are just as susceptible as any other country to the fallout of the pandemic.

It tears at the very heart of society, and communities are left struggling to hold on to a semblance of order, and balance.

In Fiji, much like every other part of the world, thousands of people have lost jobs.

Many more will lose their jobs over the coming weeks and months.

Thousands of people are now working on reduced hours, many have been forced to take leave, and many more are on leave without pay.

Many are contemplating how they are going to pay off their home loans.

It can be stressful.

So the revelation that about 80 per cent of callers who sought counselling also requested for food assistance will not come as a major surprise.

This is a major obstacle in our lives that we will be forced to live with.

People are struggling.

Many are finding it difficult to put food on the table.

Many are finding it difficult to pay their bills, their mortgages and cater for health care.

This is the harsh reality of our lives right now.

It’s not going to go away any time soon.

As thousands of people continue to hold out hope that there will be some sort of assistance available to ease their woes, we are reminded that there are things we can control.

It is difficult, but we have to embrace the new normal.

That means keeping the virus at bay.

If we want to control what happens in Fiji, then we must adhere strictly to social distancing rules.

There is no other way.

Reduce unnecessary travel.

Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Do not shake hands and no hugging please.

Sneeze or cough into your elbow or into a tissue and dispose this immediately safely.

Maintain social distancing every time you go out.

Do not touch your face when you are out.

These rules are designed to keep the virus at bay.

This is the new normal!

Together we can keep COVID-19 at bay.

That should be our challenge.

For our loved ones, for ourselves, and for Fiji!

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