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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

PM Bainimarama declares Koro island priority, Fiji's neighbours quick to offer help

Koro Island in the Lomaiviti group the worst hit by Cyclone Winston has been declared a priority area by Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

More than 2000 families have been affected losing everything when Cyclone Winston hit the island on Saturday.

Currently, Fiji Military personnel are loading emergency supplies for the island.

Military personnel have been deployed for eight days on the island.

Meanwhile, Fiji's regional partner countries say they'll be guided by Suva over how best they can provide help in the wake of Cyclone Winston.

The most powerful storm in the country's recorded history barrelled into Fiji's main island of Viti Levu and neighbouring smaller islands late on Saturday destroying entire villages, flooding low-lying areas, and wiping out crops.

The death toll from tropical cyclone Winston has risen to 10, with concerns that number could rise when communication is restored to outlying islands.

The Fiji Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, says the country will be looking for a lot of help from donor countries and Fijian communities overseas following the devastation of Cyclone Winston.

He told Auckland based Radio Tarana the country has suffered total devastation of its infrastructure, homes and schools.

The prime minister says teams should go out shortly with emergency rations.

“The teams are ready to go out. Weather permitting they will leave on Tuesday. These are survey teams with emergency rations. All over Fiji with emergency rations, weather permitting of course,” said Bainimarama

Aerial views of the Maritime Islands reveal the devastation from Cyclone Winston.

Australia is providing an initial U$3.5 million package of assistance to Fiji in an immediate response to the devastation caused by Winston.

The Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said the package will support those in greatest need, facilitating the rapid release of pre-positioned stores and food items to assist people remaining in evacuation centres or displaced.

Australian Civilian Corp specialists would also working alongside Fijian colleagues in the National Disaster Management Office.

The New Zealand's government said it was waiting for Fiji to say what additional help it will need in the wake of Cyclone Winston, after making some initial emergency funds available.

A Defence Force Orion was dispatched Sunday and has been helping with with aerial reconaissance.

Wellington made 33-thousand dollars of emergency funds and 112-thousand of relief supplies available but indicated more money will be directed to Fiji in due course.

New Zealand's foreign minister Murray McCully said New Zealand wanted to do what was most helpful and acceptable to the Fiji government.

“They are, as we are, are waiting for a read from that Orion flight later,” said McCully. “We have made the offer and I guess we will know they want us to contribute.”

Co-ordination with other donor countries would play a part.

And of course we have got a conversation going on with the Australians, the French and others who have assets in the region to make sure that we are not doubling up. So that is the best that can be done while we wait for the assessments to come in, but clearly a really serious hit.”

Fiji's government has confirmed that France had offered helicopters.

The the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a clearer picture of the situation in Fiji would emerge over the next few days.

A spokesperson for the UN agency in Suva, Danielle Parry, says assessment of the damage to outer island is especially needed.

“They're having a look around that country, there was so many parts of this country, impacted by this cyclone, that's it's important to get an overall picture of where the need is,” she said.

“Those islands in the Lomaiviti group I know the government is now in a planning process to getting some assistance out there, they're looking at that today.”

Parry says at this stage the Fiji government has made no formal request for international assistance.

Source: PacNews

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 9:35 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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