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Fiji struggles to respond to natural disaster

Fiji is struggling to respond to the worst flooding in 50 years that has already left 11 people dead and over 10, 000 people homeless as well as destroying crucial infrastructure. Preliminary estimates place the cost of damages at approximately $32 million.

The poorest have been hardest hit by the storms and thousands of affected people are pouring into schools and churches seeking aid but little is available.

The flooding has affected the distribution of essential services, particularly to rural areas where people are now in desperate need.

Uniting International Mission’s partner church in Fiji, the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma has highlighted their need for food, clothing, kerosene and bedding, pots, pans and cooking utensils all of which have been lost in the floods as well as assistance with school fees and other necessary expenses.

In the past, Australia has offered considerable assistance and support to Fiji’s recovery from natural disasters, however, relationships between Fiji’s interim government and Australia have deteriorated after the failure of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama to hold elections after leading a military coup in December 2006.

As a consequence, Fijians have not received the considerable support once offered by the Australian government and are struggling in it’s vacuum. Fiji has limited capacity to comprehensively respond to disasters and many are hungry, cold and homeless as a result.

This situation is a nightmare for the Fijian people who are now facing a political problem, an economic decline and now a natural disaster.

Uniting Church Overseas Aid is calling for donations to assist Fiji in this crisis. You can donate in the following ways:

Call 1800 000 331 to make a Credit Card donation;

Visit http://uim.uca.org.au/ucoa/donate to make a donation online;

Send your cheque to Uniting Church Overseas Aid, Reply Paid 2266 Sydney South NSW 1234