NEWS

Christmas Sacrifice

As initial damage assessments come in, the RFMF already have three teams of 30 engineers ready to be mobilised.
22 Dec 2020 11:40
Christmas Sacrifice
Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel at the Punjas Warehouse in Lautoka, packing food rations for cyclone affected areas on December 21, 2020. Photo: RFMF Media Cell

Christmas, Boxing Day and the New Year holidays will be just another day at work for the majority of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel.

At least 150 are on ground zero in the Northern Division conducting Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations after the devastation left behind by Category Five Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

Another team is on standby to be part of the Government team to the Lomaiviti and Lau group that depart on an eight day assessment and relief tour today.

At the Nadi International Airport, RFMF personnel off-loaded relief supplies sent in by overseas Governments and civil society organisations by following strict COVID-19 protocols.

They also continued their operations at Government-funded quarantine facilities.

As initial damage assessments come in, the RFMF already have three teams of 30 engineers ready to be mobilised.

School Rebuilding Focus

The rebuilding of schools is key. Tentative assessments indicate that out of the 127 schools in the Bua and Macuata province, 100 are damaged and two completely destroyed.

Commander RFMF, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto said they have their hands full but manageable at this time.

“The three teams of engineers have been mobilised.  We are mindful of the jobs that are going to come up – now that assessments are coming in.

“So that we can go in as soon as demands come in,” he said.

Personnel in the Northern division are currently under the tasking of Commissioner Northern, Uraia Rainima.

They are staying at the RFMF base in Nabouwalu.

The 50 RFMF personnel from Suva who arrived in the North on Sunday have also brought relief for those based at the Sukanaivalu Barracks, Labasa.

“We are also trying to temporarily relieve our people – some homes belonging to soldiers were damaged and we’ve given them time to fix their homes.”

Rear Admiral Naupoto said the Sukanaivalu Barracks also suffered some damages. But their focus was getting to those places that really needed their help.

Some of RFMF’s heavy moving equipment were also transported to the North to help in the clean-up.

In addition to the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support for those affected by TC Yasa and ongoing COVID-19 operations, 150 RFMF personnel will undergo pre-deployment training in January.

This is to prepare them for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan.

“The main part of our job in what we are doing for COVID-19 is trying our best not to compromise.

“As long as we are COVID-contained, we can help the people outside freely and not be restricted.

“We are working throughout – Christmas and New Year, those who can have a quick break with their family, we let them go – but otherwise Christmas and New Year is just another day for us – all just working.”

Rear Admiral Naupoto said both the RFNS Savenaca and RFNS  Kikau are on stand-by.

Read Nemani Delaibatiki’s Editorial,  A Christmas, New Year Sacrifice To Help Victims Of Cyclone Yasa

 


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