Hearts that care

Men of Yaro Village carry Red Cross relief supplies into their village on the island of Kia. Duty concession on importation of disaster relief goods have been given so that Fijians can rebuild and restart their lives following destruction caused by TC Yasa. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Super storm Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa had a devastating impact on Fiji’s Northern Division, leaving many homeless and in dire need of help.

Many families are struggling to put a decent meal on the table as moves are underway to rehabilitate needy Fijians.

Many may be still going through the ordeal to revive themselves from the horror of the monster storm.

Schools have opened up doors as many effected families are still wondering how to send their children back to school.

The Fiji Times has reported many heartbreaking stories and emotional headlines from the cyclone-affected areas.

I salute FT’s effort to highlight Fiji’s citizens’ struggle and brought issues to relevance in front of Fiji’s public.

Fiji’s Government is doing its part, as the country’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made a personal visit to the most affected places.

PM’s National Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund has been a blessing for many families.

Ministers and parliamentarians joined hands making an exemplary effort to show their concern and support for needy citizens.

Many individuals have also come forward to assist the needy ones.

Praiseworthy efforts
The Indian Fiji Friendship Forum [IFFF] made community service by distributing groceries to 25 families that were struggling to make ends meet.

IFFF is a non-profit charitable trust organisation formed by people of India and Fiji have been pro-active to give financial support to the ones who had been affected by TC Harold and STC Yasa.

They have been providing groceries and assistance to the less fortunate families, not just STC Yasa affected ones but also others who are in need.

Leading NGO Sai Prema Foundation Fiji (SPF) also showed exemplary community service and were bestowed with prestigious award of Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award 2021 by the President of India.

They have been working hard to deliver all possible assistance to the affected areas. This organisation has assisted more than 7000 affected families and continuously looking to help more families.

Another person who needs to be given special credit is Lautoka- based Allen Mac Lockington, who is not just an eminent contributor to FT’s letters — he has a very big heart.

He works tirelessly for humanity by organising aid and distributing to the most needy students and families in Fiji.

Another long-time FT contributor, Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, with his associates at Balgovind Rd (Nadawa) Santsang Ramayan Mandali is also providing assistance to deprived Fijian brothers and sisters.

At the Fiji’s largest national university (FNU) level, commendable efforts were made by Prof Unaisi Baba (Dean of College of Humanities and Education, FNU) who organised aid drive from within the college and all possible means to voluntary contributions for distributing to the ones who are severely affected by STC Yasa.

FNU Students’ Association has partnered with the Tertiary Scholarship and Loan Board to provide back to school packs to affected students on Vanua Levu.

FNUSA handed more than 75 full packs and other assorted stationery to TSLB to be distributed.

Their aim is to provide assistance to the students to help the families rebuild their livelihood in these challenging times.

International organisations like UNICEF have always supported Fiji to respond to the urgent needs of the families affected by STC Yasa, and even the EU has provided all humanitarian aid funding to deliver emergency relief assistance to the families affected.

Funds and relief assistance provided by many countries such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, India, China and others.

Moreover, many Fijians and Fijian associations such as Fiji American National Associations and others worldwide have also poured in assistance.

Conclusion
The list may go on, pardon me for any oversight, but your contributions will be remembered.
Your empathy towards your fellow countrymen means a lot during these trying times. I hope this happens soon with the blessing of the Almighty.

* Dr Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history at Fiji National University. He has a PhD in history from Jawaharlal Nehru University and is a gold medalist in PGD in Education, USP. The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper or his employer. For comments or suggestions, email. dr.sakulkundra@gmail.com

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