Fundraising for Cyclone Winston's youngest victims in Fiji
- Published on 05 April 2016
One of the organisers, Ms Lusiana Ralogaivau, from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) said that the group of friends met a week before to plan the fundraiser which would also raise awareness of the impacts of climate change.
In his opening remarks at the fundraiser, Mr. Peniamina Leavai from SPREP noted, "This illustrates how important it is to use every vehicle and approach possible to highlight the importance of the issue of climate change and natural disasters and the need for urgent action - action that is founded on sound and proven basis, clear and serious will and commitment."
After the auction of donated goods and services, including accommodation at Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Tanoa Group of Hotels, Taumeasina Island Resort, and airfares to Fiji and Hawaii with Fiji Airways, the guests enjoyed a screening of 'Moana – The Rising of the Sea' Europe Tour 2015, a production in dance performed by the Oceania Dance Theatre of the University of the South Pacific on how climate change is affecting the Pacific island countries and people.
A one-year response plan is being developed by the organisation which seeks to invest in education and school kits, water, sanitation and health (WASH), rehabilitation of schools and child-safe spaces and protection of children.
TC Winston, a category 5 cyclone, sustained wind speeds of more than 251km per hour. It caused wide-spread devastation throughout Vanua Balavu, Koro and Viti Levu islands. According to Save the Children Fund, over 50,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and approximately 350,000 people, roughly 40 percent of Fiji's population, were significantly impacted by the cyclone including 133,000 children under the age of 19 years.
TC Winston started near Port Vila in Vanuatu on 7 February, going through the northern group of islands in Tonga and brushing past the Samoas before intensifying to a category 5 cyclone and hitting Fiji. It finally dissipated when it made landfall in Australia on the 3 March, 26 days after becoming a tropical disturbance.
The event took place on 31 March at the Apollo Cinemas in Samoa.