NATION

Collecting Essential Items For Cyclone-Ravaged Fiji

Mahesh Raniga experienced his fair share of cyclones while living in Fiji. But seeing the devastation caused by the monster cyclone which battered his homeland in late February has left
09 Mar 2016 07:45
Collecting Essential Items For Cyclone-Ravaged Fiji
Aporosa Roqica, 6, with father Maciu Senivula, 45 (right), of Vacuko rehabilitation settlement after their family home was completely destroyed by Cyclone Winston. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Mahesh Raniga experienced his fair share of cyclones while living in Fiji.

But seeing the devastation caused by the monster cyclone which battered his homeland in late February has left Mr Raniga “emotionally shattered’’ but determined to help rebuild Fiji.

Wind gusts of more than 300km/h lashed Fiji during the Category Five storm. Tropical Cyclone Winston left at least 43 people dead, whole communities destroyed, and 300 schools damaged or wiped out. Tens of thousands sheltered in crowded evacuation centres around the country.

“I still well up every time I see photos of the damage caused or I speak to friends in Fiji,’’ Mr Raniga said.

“Fiji is used to Category One and Two hurricanes but this was something else altogether. It’s definitely the worst I can remember. They are talking in excess of $1.5 billion of damage. The island of Koro has basically been completely wiped out.’’

The Dapto man said he was amazed at Fijians’ ability to keep pushing through adversity after adversity.

“They just keep on smiling and getting on with life,” he said. “It makes me want to do whatever I can to help them in their time of need.”

Mr Raniga is collecting tinned food, clothes, sheets, towels and toiletry items to send to Fiji.

“People have been so generous, I’ve already collected about 200 kilos of clothes,’’ he said.

“Fiji people need everything from textbooks to disinfectants. All the items I collect will be transported to a huge container in Sydney which will then be flown to Fiji. The national disaster management officer will then disperse the goods to those most in need.’’

The Rotary Club of Corrimal has helped collect the items. Money can also be donated directly to its ‘Fiji Cyclone’ account; BSB 062 528, account number 0090 2781.

Mr Raniga is accepting goods at Amazing Paints, 105 Princes Highway, Fairy Meadow and at his Dapto premises at 354 Princes Highway until March 18.

Source: Advertiser Lake Times

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