23 Apr 2012

Flood-related need forces Fiji Red Cross to diversify services

4:01 pm on 23 April 2012

The scale of need in flood-hit Fiji has forced the Red Cross to broaden its relief efforts to include cleaning up and counselling.

Six people died and thousands fled to evacuation centres during last month's severe flooding on the main island, which followed floods in January that killed eight and caused widescale evacuation.

Fiji Red Cross's acting director general says it has been supplying wheelbarrows and shovels as well as assisting with the clearing of silt and mud.

Christopher Ho also says for the first time the organisation is trying to establish some sort of psycho-social support, both for members of the community and its own staff.

"Most of the time we believe within ourselves that we're people with smiling faces and it's sort of an area that we haven't really delved into. And then you have this type of attitude thing like it will be OK but sometimes, underneath the surface, things are not that OK when you've suffered that much trauma."

Christopher Ho says he sees a need for better flood-preparedness, such as purpose-built evacuation centres.