Fiji Plea for UN assistance

Fifty thousand people are homeless following the storm which caused mayhem in Fiji last week.

And the Government has pleaded for immediate assistance from the 193 member countries of the UN and its organisations, as it says it cannot handle the situation alone.

In his urgent call for assistance, Fiji's permanent representative to the UN in New York, Peter Thomson, told the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that Fiji faced a national crisis.

“This is our time of great need. We are looking for all the help from the international community we can get,” Thomson said. "This is the first time Fiji has put out its hands and we need international assistance — we (Government) cannot do this alone.

“I am asking your governments and organisations of different countries to go the extra yard on this occasion.”

He told OCHA that of the 900,000 population, 62,000 people were taking refuge at 935 evacuation centres nationwide.

Delegates from member states heard from Thomson that 117 schools were damaged and there was a dire need to fix these and get students back for classes.

He told OCHA the affected people in the country immediately needed shelter, clothing, sanitary items for women, water pumps, pipes, generators, building and learning materials, wash supplies and emergency health kits.

“Three hundred and fifty people are in need of wash supplies. School children need wash supplies to return to school as soon as possible.”

Thomson also told the member countries that while the country was devastated by Severe TC Winston, the tourism sector was operating as normal.

“Those hotels are open, the beaches are fine, the sea is still great to swim in and the Fijian hospitality for which we are famous for is there and ready to serve."

In response, OCHA director of the Operational Division John Ging has agreed for an international flash appeal.

Ging called for generous contributions.