Majors David Bennett and Mark Ennever from New Zealand, along with The Salvation Army’s emergency services government liaison officer in Fiji, Lieutenant Saimone Gataurua, today met with the Fiji National Disaster Secretary Meleti Bainimarama and representatives of the Fiji Government’s Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC).
There was agreement that The Salvation Army will work with people in the Western region, in locations where we are already established and which has been devastated by Cyclone Winston. We will begin assessment tomorrow (Saturday) in the hard-hit area of Rakiraki. The Fijian Government is very supportive of our working in Rakiraki.
One of the greatest needs at the moment is psycho-social support for children. A Salvation Army psycho-social team of four will arrive in Fiji from New Zealand early next week. New Zealand is also sending over satellite phones to assist with communications.
The national leaders in Fiji, Majors David and Vyvyenne Noakes, visited Savusavu today and report a great deal of damage. Seven families (40 people) are still being accommodated in the Army hall from the nearby squatter settlement. Food, tarpaulins and chainsaws are being redeployed from our nearby Labasa centre.
On Tavenui Island, the officers have started to mop up and will be moving into temporary accommodation after the destruction of their home. However, their son has become sick with dysentery and has been hospitalised with dehydration.
Territorial Commander Commissioner Robert Donaldson expressed appreciation of those who are serving with such commitment in Fiji. ‘Many messages of care and concern have come from around the Army world,’ he said. ‘I want to say thank you very much to our Fijian officers, local officers and soldiers, who are giving their all. Our prayer is for sustaining energy and focus as you work in this situation. You cannot be separated from the love of God and whatever you are doing in his name, He is with you. His energy and wisdom will be with you as you serve people in a vulnerable time. Thank you for all you are doing!’
Photo: A toddler stands on the bed after the roof was blown away in the Ra District / Credit: Fiji Government.