NEWS

Not Forgotten

Yesterday was a sad day, a day of sombre reflection for the Fijian people as we commemorated the second anniversary of Tropical Cyclone Winston, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said. He
21 Feb 2018 11:23
Not Forgotten

Yesterday was a sad day, a day of sombre reflection for the Fijian people as we commemorated the second anniversary of Tropical Cyclone Winston, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said.

He made the remarks when he opened the 20th Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference at the Sheraton Fiji Resort, Denarau, Nadi.

He asked the delegates for a moment of silence to remember those who died in Tropical Cyclone Winston and those who were suffering in Samoa, Tonga and southern Lau in the wake of Cyclone Gita.

He said homes and schools could be rebuilt.

On Winston, Mr Bainimarama said: “What can’t be replaced are the 44 men, women and children who died in the affected areas.

“They were someone’s father, someone’s mother, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins. They were ordinary Fijians – the backbone of our nation. And because we are a small country, they were known to many of us and they mattered to all of us. We still mourn their passing and on this anniversary we remember them, as they rest in the loving arms of Almighty God.”

Winston slammed into our nation with terrible force on February 20, 2016, Mr Bainimarama said.  It was the biggest storm ever to make landfall in the Southern Hemisphere, packing record winds at its peak of more than 300 kilometres an hour, he said.

Apart from the deaths, many thousands of Fijians lost their homes. Public infrastructure, including many schools, were damaged or destroyed; and when it was over, the overall cost amounted to one third of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product), he added.

He said Fijians had recognised the need for a new standard of resilience to meet the constant threat we now face, even outside the traditional cyclone season.

“They know – because they lived through it – that we must build back stronger and better to survive the more frequent and more intense cyclones that are coming because of climate change.”

He said it was singularly appropriate – given the new age of climate uncertainty that was upon us – that sustainability and resilience be the theme of this conference.

“We all know that education is the key to sustainable development because it equips people with the skills they need to benefit their own lives and the lives of those around them,” he said.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: