An appeal for victims of Cyclone Winston in Fiji has kicked into top gear in Northland and organisers are urging donors to dig deep into their pockets to help those affected by the calamity.
The Northland Fiji community is requesting cash donations only that would be sent to affected areas throughout the country as thousands lost their homes and crops in the 300km/h winds last Saturday. Latest reports put the death toll at 42.
Northland Fijian community spokesman Soro Ramacake said the quicker the relief effort could be organised, mobilised and assistance provided to those affected, the faster people could get their lives back on track.
He said while a lot of people were left without food, shelter, and a livelihood, of real concern was the spread of diseases if basic amenities were not restored soon.
"About four local Whangarei Fijians have lost loved ones, a number of others have relatives who have lost everything, and it means that they will have to start again from scratch. It is going to be a mammoth task of rebuilding," Mr Ramacake said.
He said the appeal would run initially until March 25, but maybe extended if the need arose. Apart from cash donations to the designated bank account, money would also be collected at the Fijian Village at the Pacifika Fusion Festival at the Hihiaua Peninsula today.
"Collectors will be out on the day so please come and support," he said.
"We are appealing to the generosity of the Northland people to dig deep into your pockets and response to this appeal."
Those wishing to donate can do so at any ANZ bank on the Northland Fiji Community Cyclone Winston appeal bank account
The Fijian Government said 45,000 people were staying in emergency shelters after thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.
In some cases, entire communities might be moved to safer ground when it comes time to rebuild. The Fijian Government is distributing aid and satellite phones and hopes to soon move into the rebuilding phase of the recovery.