13 Apr 2018

NZ looks to support Fiji further after cyclones

4:17 pm on 13 April 2018

New Zealand is looking to provide more immediate aid and long term help to Fiji after it was struck by two cyclones and heavy rain in less than two weeks.

NZ High Commissioner to Fiji Jonathan Curr is briefed by officials from Fiji's Western Division about post cyclone needs, following Cyclone Keni.

NZ High Commissioner to Fiji Jonathan Curr is briefed by officials from Fiji's Western Division about post cyclone needs, following Cyclone Keni. Photo: RNZ / Sally Round

New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji Jonathan Curr was this morning briefed by officials on needs in the hard hit Western Division.

Mr Curr said New Zealand had been helping with health and safety supplies in the immediate aftermath and the amphibious Sealegs vessel has already helped with flood rescues in Ba.

He said New Zealand was also assisting further south, around the island of Kadavu which bore the brunt of Cyclone Keni earlier this week.

"We've also supported the government with organising a helicopter flight to take some officials to Kadavu to do some impact assessments there, and to meet with the local community and also to bring some people out of Kadavu who might need some medical attention."

Mr Curr said New Zealand wanted to talk further to Fiji about helping mitigate the effects of cyclones.

"I think longer term, there's also some work New Zealand can do to support Fiji to respond to these kinds of disasters, work around mitigation, adaptation that we can do, and also trying to understand exactly what is going on in some of these areas."

Western Division authorities explained that silt laden waterways needed dredging, while some farming practices from many years ago had impacted river flows.

"I think there's a lot more work to be done on understanding exactly why some of the problems have become as significant as they are today and we'd be very happy to talk with the government of Fiji about how we can assist," Mr Curr said.

Damage on Kandavu after Cyclone Keni

Photo: Supplied/ Matava Resort

Building supplies needed on Kadavu

A ferry carrying relief supplies is expected to leave Viti Levu tonight for Kadavu.

Building materials and basic food items are the main needs on the island in the wake of the category three storm which destroyed houses, uprooted trees and sunk boats.

One of the owners of the Matava Resort on the south of the island, Luke Kerchevale, said many villages were in "really bad shape".

He said the handful of resorts on the island were all putting together some money to try and help out.

"Everyone has donated money from the resorts to quickly order timber and metal roofing, including screws and things like that just getting shelter for now," he said.

"But the next big step is going to be food. Water seems to be okay most of the villages run off natural springs and whatnot so it is not as much of a worry at the moment.

"We are just going to try and get down on this ferry as much as we can. Flour, rice, they are the requests from the villages at the moment just as a staple to keep them going."

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