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Fiji unions call for support to rebuild homes after Cyclone Winston
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA will work with the Fiji Congress of Trade Unions to help people in the affected communities to rebuild their homes, working with the local sugar and teachers’ unions. The Fiji unions have established a fund to support people to rebuild homes destroyed by the cyclone. Unions in New Zealand and the Asia and Pacific regions are already contributing to help this work.
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA and the ACTU join unionists across the Pacific in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Fiji who are suffering because of the unprecedentedly severe tropical cyclone, Winston which hit on 20 February. This is the worst storm in the history of Fiji, with wind speeds up to 325 kph.
The damage to houses caused by Cyclone Winston can be clearly seen in this image taken in the town of Rakiraki in Fiji’s Ra Province. (Photo credit: Brant Cumming/ABC)
Poor areas across the country experienced damage to homes, and sustained flooding, with serious interruption to food, water and electricity supplies. The situation in villages in the northern and western coastal areas of Viti Levu is tragic. In the town of Rakiraki 95% of houses are completely destroyed and hundreds of people are sheltering in the church. Initially they had to wait for emergency assistance by air or boat, since roads were cut. Food stores and in-ground crops were destroyed by the cyclone. Over 50,000 people are now homeless, mainly in the northern coastal areas.
The situation of smaller islands in the path of the cyclone, such as Koro, is even more desperate, and they sustained many of the casualties
Pacific nations and communities are aware that catastrophic weather events are worsening because of climate change. Inaction by high-income country governments on greenhouse gas emissions exacerbates the problem.
Disasters of this nature require immediate relief responses, but also require longer term reconstruction efforts, rebuilding homes and infrastructures, and replanting crops. It will take considerable time for people to be able to get back to work, with schools, factories, hospitals, farms and tourist facilities all damaged.
We appeal for donations to support the Fiji unions in this urgent rebuilding phase.
Donations will be used to assist with the re-building of housing in Fiji. If funds raised exceed the amount needed for this appeal, funds will be used to support ongoing development activities in Fiji, including re-establishing crops and small scale food production.
All funds donated to this appeal will be used for recovery activities by local partner organisations in Fiji, other than a maximum of 10% taken to cover management and administrative costs. Our appeal and administration costs for international appeals vary depending upon the type and scale of activity, but are never more than 10% of any donation and only cover the directly associated costs in administering and promoting the appeal, including administrative, monitoring, financial and reporting costs by Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA.
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