Fijians call for Kiwi tradespeople to help rebuild destroyed villages

By Richard Moore

Volunteers in Fiji's Yasawa Group are appealing for Kiwi and Australian trades workers to help them rebuild. Photo / Richard Moore
Volunteers in Fiji's Yasawa Group are appealing for Kiwi and Australian trades workers to help them rebuild. Photo / Richard Moore

Volunteers in Fiji's Yasawa Group are appealing for Kiwi and Australian trades workers to help them rebuild.

Cyclone Winston tore through the Yasawa archipelago with winds of up to 300km/h. Many of the villages in the group of about 20 volcanic islands have been badly damaged.

Scores of buildings, including schools, have been destroyed or badly damaged and crops have been wiped out.

Skilled workers are required for rebuilding.

Even a week after the disaster, the lack of communication with the outside world is making life difficult; the only links are ferries and cruise boats.

Messages are passed to the crews from the islands. The crews also bring messages.

The operations manager of volunteer group Vinaka Fiji, Elenoa Nimacere, said there were no local builders.

"We need help. We are seeking people to come and restore lives.

"Builders, plumbers and electricians are all needed."

Vinaka Fiji is looking to get schools running first, clearing the way for adults to rebuild the villages.

Not only is the call going out for skilled workers, but also for tools and equipment.

Ms Nimacere said it was an extensive list. "We need saws, hammers, nails, anything for building houses. One of the key things are wheelbarrows - they are really important."

Wheelbarrows could assist villagers in rebuilding gardens and replanting crops. Spades and forks were also needed.

Teams led by Vinaka Fiji staff are visiting villages to find out what they need. Food is the main priority, as most local crops have been flattened.

Ms Nimacere said an estimated 2000 villagers on Naviti Island had very limited food.

"Their crops have been wiped out."

To learn how you can help: Visit vinakafiji.org.fj.

- NZ Herald

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