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Winston taught us a lesson or two

Jenny Salesa – 

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Fiji and Tonga, who have been detrimentally affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

I particularly send my condolences to the people of Fiji, who have suffered most severely from the strongest cyclone recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

My heart-felt deepest sympathies go out to those who have lost loved ones and those whose homes and businesses are damaged beyond repair.

As Indian Newslink readers will know, there are many areas in Fiji in desperate need of food, water and shelter. I am also deeply concerned that children’s lives will return soon to normality.

Indian Samaritans

I salute the Indo-Fijian community members and business owners, who do not wait for someone else to organise a response but usually jump straight in to assist, setting up collection points and making arrangements to get relief up to Fiji as fast as possible.

I am a member, representing Tonga, on the committee for the Auckland Mayoral Fund for the Pacific, which has been activated and stands ready to help.

Task Force

John Kotoisuva, Chair and Fijian representative on the committee and I are the main points of contact for the relief efforts for Fiji and Tonga.

We have formed a Taskforce to work closely with communities here and co-ordinate the response from Auckland.

The Taskforce is providing logistical support and containers to transport goods collected by families here to their families in Fiji and Tonga.

Donations sought

For Fiji, where the need is great, we are also seeking donations from the public.

We have identified the worst-affected villages and will send those contributions directly to those areas. Past experience shows that the most useful items to send are non-perishable food and bottled water, small garden tools, pots/pans, cooking utensils and fishing gear.

Collection Points

There are two collection points at which families can deposit their donations. Donations of goods from the community at large can also be left there to be shipped up to affected areas: 1. City Impact Church, 385 Mount Wellington Highway, Mount Wellington, Auckland 1060; Phone (09) 4770300 and 2. Church Unlimited, Number 3, Te Atatu Road, Te Atatu, West Auckland 0602; Phone (09) 8361294.

The most versatile way for Aucklanders to help immediately would be to donate cash.

Mayoral Fund

Tax deductible donations to the Mayoral Fund can be made at any time.

The Fund is managed by Auckland Communities Foundation (ACF) and donations should be made through (a) ‘Donate Now’ on ACF website www.aucklandcf.org.nz (b)

(b) Direct payment to the ACF bank account (with reference ‘MFP’ to ASB Bank account 12-3028-0714703-00) and (c) cheques payable to ‘Auckland Communities Foundation Mayoral Fund for the Pacific’ sent to PO Box 26087, Epsom, Auckland 1334.

Solemn pledge

I have been working with the Mayoral Fund for the Pacific for disaster relief since 2013 and experiences in Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tuvalu show that rebuilding can take a long time.

Kia kaha to the people of Fiji; stay strong. You will not be forgotten and your friends in Auckland will continue to work with you as you begin rebuilding your lives again.

Photo :

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama speaking to his people in Narere on February 23, 2016 after TC Winston hit the country. (Picture by Fiji Government)

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