NEWS

Jacinda In Fiji: Students Quarantined In Auckland Get Chance To Thank New Zealand Prime Minister

Fijian Masters students Joe Racaca and Sylvia Nandani were among 30 Pacific Islanders evacuated to New Zealand from Wuhan, China, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Hubei province earlier this month.
27 Feb 2020 09:35
Jacinda In Fiji: Students Quarantined In Auckland Get Chance To Thank New Zealand Prime Minister
From left: Sylvia Nandani, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Joe Racaca at USP on February 26, 2020. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

The two Fijian students who were quarantined at the Whangaparaoa Military Training Facility in Auckland, New Zealand, had a chance to personally thank New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

This was at her final Suva engagement at the University of the South Pacific (USP) yesterday.

Wuhan Masters students Joe Racaca and Sylvia Nandani were among 30 Pacific Islanders evacuated to New Zealand from Wuhan, China, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Hubei province earlier this month.

The pair were part of a packed crowd at the Japan ICT Centre at USP.

Joe Racaca and Sylvia Nandani ready to leave the Whangaparaoa Military Training Facility in Auckland, New Zealand

Joe Racaca and Sylvia Nandani ready to leave the Whangaparaoa Military Training Facility in Auckland, New Zealand

An elated Ms Nandani said it was an unforgettable experience to thank the leader who had arranged for their safe transfer to Fiji.

“I told her that it was because of her and her Government’s generosity that we were able to be home safe and sound today,” Ms Nandani said.

“I feel so happy to have shaken hands with her and to be able to just thank her face to face.

“We had not expected it to be how it went today, I was a little emotional when she asked me about how the facilities were, she asked if they were comfortable and if everything was okay.

“I told her that everything was just perfect, from the food, basic necessities that were provided free of charge and that I just couldn’t thank her enough.”

She said yesterday’s experience would be unforgettable for her and something she would remember for the rest of her life.

Flying from Wuhan...  Sylvia Nandani and Joe Racaca onboard the Air New Zealand flight  assisted evacuation.

Flying from Wuhan…Sylvia Nandani and Joe Racaca onboard the Air New Zealand flight assisted evacuation.

New Zealand to contribute $2 million to manage displacement of communities

Meanwhile, PM Ardern also announced her government’s $2 million contributions for our Climate Relocation and Displaced Peoples’ Trust Fund.

She said the funds would help Fiji manage one of the most confronting issues of climate change – the displacement of communities.

The trust fund launched in September is a world first that aims to sustainably manage some of Fiji’s communities.

The assistance comes from the $150 million packages of Pacific-focused climate change assistance the New Zealand government had announced at the Pacific Islands Forum last year.

While we must do all we can to mitigate to prevent the full-frontal assault of climate change, she said preparation was also key.

“We are contributing to the establishment of Fiji’s climate relocation and displaced people’s trust fund for communities and infrastructure,” Ms Ardern said.

“With five communities relocation underway or completed in Fiji and further 40 identified this is an issue for the here and now.”

She added that climate change continued to have a significant impact on the people of the region.

“As coasts erode, sea-level rise and fish stocks move we must understand that it is a reality,” Ms Ardern said.

“It is in the places that I have seen in my own eyes, be it here in Fiji, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Samoa and the list goes on.

“I am recommitting New Zealand’s support and investment in Pacific regionalism.

“No greater priority, no greater collective challenge than the need to decrease the impacts of climate change.”

Edited by Percy Kean

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