By Australia Relief Team (Originally in English)
On February 20, 2016, Fiji was struck by Cyclone Winston, the strongest tropical cyclone (category 5) ever recorded to make landfall in the southern hemisphere. Winds of up to 230 kilometres per hour with gusts of up to 325 kilometres per hour swept through the island. Forty-four people lost their lives, more than 150 people were injured and 31,200 homes were damaged or destroyed. Electricity power poles and wires were damaged, leading to power outages in the affected areas.
Keeping in mind Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving instruction to assist those in need, our Association members in New Zealand contributed NZD 2,500 to Fiji High Commission in New Zealand to help Fiji get back on its feet. Our Association members from Brisbane and Sydney Centers in Australia contributed AUD 19,838 towards a relief fund to help victims of the disaster. On March 4, a relief team of four members from both Brisbane and Sydney Centers flew to Fiji to deliver disaster relief with Master’s love and blessings to the victims.
After arriving in Fiji, our relief team reached out to victims in remote areas where aid had either not arrived or more was required. One such place was the Malake Island. During the following week until March 10, in addition to visiting various schools in Fiji such as Vunisamaloa Sangam School, Ratu Filimoni Memorial Primary School, Penang Sangam Primary School and Ratu Filimone Primary School, our team traveled to different parts of the island to deliver needed supplies to the affected people.
As most of the books in schools were damaged during the cyclone, we bought stationery sets comprised of exercise books, pencils, pens, erasers and rulers for schools that were partly damaged, but reopened for classes. To assist in providing lunch for the school children, we gave the schools various food items including rice, flour, peas, vegan cookies, oil and seasonings.
We also contributed four power generators to the schools and one to Malake Island Village. These generators are needed to power water pumps to draw water from boreholes. They are also needed for providing power supplies to photocopiers, mobile phones and office equipment at the schools.
To the villagers on Malake Island, apart from the food items, we supplied them with a number of water filtration systems, and tarpaulins and ropes to use for making temporary shelters, as well as various household items including kitchen utensils, lamps, and detergent. We also gave FJD 3,500 (AUD 2,246) to the village chief to be shared with the villagers. We hope with the help of the contributed supplies, the affected people will soon get through the difficult times and rebuild their lives.
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association For Cyclone Winston Relief Work in Fiji
|Five generators delivered to schools and Malake Island Village||AUD 6,317.55||A|
|Food (curry powder, salt, soya bean oil, rice, flour, chickpeas, vegan cookies, sugar and bottled water) and supplies (washing detergent, soap, stationery, towels, sponges, lamps, flashlights, batteries, kitchen utensils, tarpaulins, nylon ropes and school uniforms)||AUD 9,548.61|
|Cash contributions to Malaki Island Village, Fijian children and a man to help him buy a tin roof for his damaged house||AUD 2,592.11|
|Other expenses (phone calls, vehicle rentals, gas and driver tips, etc.)||AUD 1,379.24|
|Contribution to Fiji High Commission in New Zealand||NZD 2,500.00||B|
|Total|| AUD 19,837.51
The relief team members paid AUD 3,741.21 for their own transportation, accommodations and food.