Cyclone Winston’s impact on the people of Fiji

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07 Apr 2016 David Marshall 0 Comments

Image Label Systems first set up our Fiji operation in 1996. That's twenty years of working alongside some of the best people in the business. Our immediate concern of course, was for the health and safety of our employees and their families.

REPORTS ALL SAY THE SAME THING

Thankfully, all our staff members and their families were ok in the end. Although this doesn't mean they weren't unaffected.

Reports coming back to us have one common theme: how terrifying it all was. The roaring of the wind, the loss of power, the feeling of helplessness… and it's this emotional impact that can be just as damaging as any physical or financial loss.

cyclone winston

image: courtesy asiapacificreport.nz

AID FROM NEW ZEALAND

We did what little we could to help from New Zealand, by sending care packages and financial aid. And while these provisions did help in the immediate aftermath, there is still a lot of work to be done. The cyclone left tens of thousands homeless, but the real number may still not be known. Communication to the smaller, more remote islands was cut off and some, even now, are still having trouble getting aid.

nz aid to fiji

image courtesy of pin.com.fj

In the days after Cyclone Winston, New Zealand sent HMNZS Canterbury with tonnes of food, water and building supplies. These supplies complemented the hundreds of engineers, drivers and medical support staff that have headed to the islands, forming a joint task force. The Red Cross is doing an outstanding job helping, and we've donated to their appeal also. They have boots on the ground, experienced volunteers, and know where the aid is needed the most.

 When it comes to our business on the islands, we were fortunate. Our factory remained intact, and while we did lose power, it was only for a few days.

THE RESILIENCE AND TENACITY OF THE FIJIAN PEOPLE

Our staff were incredible. The commitment they showed was truly inspiring, and in them we see the resilience of the Fijian people. Other factories around the islands were not so lucky, especially in the lower lying areas.

fiji pupils

image courtesy of mfat.govt.nz

Flood water is the biggest problem, along with power cuts. The problem is of course, you can't pump the water out without electricity, but many factories are now back up and running again, even if it's on a skeleton crew, and this is a testament to the spirit of the Fijian people.

Tropical cyclones are not new to this part of the world, and this is why the people of Fiji understand that life goes on after a natural disaster. They don't mope around, wondering "why them". They see what needs to be done and they get on with it.

Schools need to re-open, homes need to be rebuilt.

cyclone winston devastation

image courtesy of givealittle.co.nz

It really is humbling to see the human spirit at work, not only in these small communities, but on a global scale.

We've seen people from all over the world donating money to the relief fund, wanting to help their fellow man. It's times like these that bring out the best in humanity. 

If you would like to donate to the relief effort, we recommend using the Red Cross.

You'll find instructions on how to donate here: https://www.redcross.org.nz/donate/fiji-

 
 
 

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