Since the first tourists landed on these beautiful shores, Fijians have welcomed them into their homes and hearts and for many, Fiji is our second home. Now the world's friendliest people need your help desperately. Though governments and NGOs are in the process of providing significant aid to our ravaged country, it has now been eight days since the wrath of Cyclone Winston and many remote villages have not yet received help or been contacted. This is a call for action for people both in Fiji and beyond to contribute to a direct action campaign facilitated by individuals such as myself. My name is Shani Ren Williams. I am an Australian who grew up in Fiji and with my partner manage Fiji Beachouse, a small family owned resort located at Korolevu on the Coral Coast. Fortunately, we were spared the brunt of this mega-storm and though we remain without power or communications, our side of the island was lucky.
In the days following the cyclone we have collected over $5000 contributed from resort owner Andrew Walkden-Brown and generous overseas travellers who braved the cyclone as in-house guests. On Friday, 26 February, 5 days after the cyclone's impact we loaded our 4X4 three tonne transporter with essentials including food, water, building materials, mosquito repellent, disinfectant, baby food, nappies, personal hygiene items, torches and batteries.
We travelled to the other side of the island, stopping in Nadi for supplies on the way. We ventured to the interior of the main island via Raki Raki. The devastation we witnessed was overwhelming bringing us to tears. The lush jungle was stripped bare of vegetation and villages resembled rubbish dumps with houses flattened and their meagre possessions spread far and wide. All that remained of their former homes were concrete slabs and a few bits of timber. Villagers were scavenging for the last of the remaining root crops on which they depend for survival, downed power lines were used to support tarpaulins where whole families huddled or used to hang clothing and soggy mattresses. Drinking water is being sourced from muddy polluted rivers and many children have angry staph infected boils from mosquito bites. The injured are still in dire need of medical treatment. One of the villages we visited had lost a small child when flying roofing iron severed his leg.
The help our small Beachouse group was able to offer was a drop in the bucket for the numbers of people in need. Both immediate first response help and longer term efforts to rebuild their lives are needed now. I am launching this campaign so that we can continue to provide assistance to those most in need. Please help if you can.
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