1 Mar 2016

NZ Fiji community hopes to ship donations with navy

9:55 am on 1 March 2016

The President of the Auckland Fiji Community is asking that the New Zealand government help more in securing space on its naval ship for containers with donations collected for Fiji families in need.

HMNZS Wellington being loaded with aid in Fiji post Cylone Winston

HMNZS Wellington being loaded with aid in Fiji post Cylone Winston Photo: NZ Defence Force

Nacanieli Yalimaiwai said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade informed them of room for a container on the HMNZS frigate on Saturday.

He said it was disappointing to have been given such short notice, and they were only able to fill about half the container with goods.

Mr Yalimaiwai said he was hoping to hear from MFAT in a couple of days about the possibility of securing more space with the navy if it is to head back to Fiji.

"If that does get dispatched, we really ask the government if they can let us know at least a day, or 24 hours, 30 hours before the ship departs.

"If there's space on the ship, or container space, it would really help us to mobilise us and pack every food items and items of help that we can load on the ship to go out to Fiji."

Mr Yalimaiwai said sending containers over on the government's naval vessel was the easiest shipping option for them.

He said the Auckland Pacific community had been coming out in droves to container drop off points to give essential items for families in need in Fiji.

The Auckland Pacific Disaster Fund Committee has committed to funding up to 10 containers, and the group has secured clearance from the Fiji border control for this.

Mr Yalimaiwai said the condition of the letter of clearance was that all the items and donations would go through the government's National Disaster Management Office, which is in charge of distributing aid.

EU to give $US4.6m to Cyclone relief in Fiji

The European Union is providing $US 4.6 million through the Pacific Community towards the the relief, recovery and rehabilitation effort in Fiji following Cyclone Winston.

The EU said funds would be made immediately available from EU-SPC projects for communities and businesses in the most severely affected areas of Fiji.

EU Ambassador for the Pacific Andrew Jacobs said the money was a direct short-term response to the needs of the people.

Pacific Community Director-General Colin Tukuitonga said while the full impact of the cyclone was yet to be determined, the funds would be directed towards addressing immediate needs identified by the Fiji government.