Help for Fiji cyclone victims

Supplies are flowing in to the storm-ravaged country - but more is needed.

As soon as Cyclone Winston began its devastating rampage throughout Fiji, an Auckland man began working out a way to get emergency supplies to those in need.

Paul Ross, the founder of charity Pacific Kids, has been helping orphans of the Pacific island for the past three years in Loloma, near Nadi, but he knew the cyclone would have more far-reaching consequences, so he got on the phone to New Zealand businesses to get them on board.

"Very quickly I realised that Fiji was in desperate need of international help and I needed to do far more than simply help out at the orphanage."

Two weeks on since the deadly storm, Mr Ross has raised $48,000, secured 15 pallets of urgent medical supplies, started a clothes appeal in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Brisbane, organised a tonne of rice to be shipped out and secured four pallets of disinfectant, sanitary items, aerosols and bacterial creams.

Mayo Industries has also supplied 160 brand new tarpaulins and Farro Fresh has pledged to collect donations and match them dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

"We are really committed to action rather than words.

"We have partnered with waterborne charity Sea Mercy to get material to the islands, but we need some help from Kiwis."

Sea Mercy - run by Fiji man Tony Whitton - was set up after the cyclone to help distribute emergency supplies.

However, because of corruption in Fiji, Mr Ross said he's not too focused on raising money, rather getting much-needed food and supplies.

Currently he's got about 15 schools on board to hold mufti days and instead of making a gold coin donation, children are being asked to bring a non-perishable item. He's also asking businesses to run the initiative and already has Fonterra, Pulse Energy and Slingshot/Call Plus on board.

Mr Ross said every dollar raised by Pacific Kids goes to those in need in Fiji, while he picks up the bill for all administration and logistics costs involved in getting money and materials to the battered islands.

He's already sent one shipment of supplies to the orphans at Loloma, while his next shipment leaves tomorrow with urgent medical supplies. His focus is now on a food drive.

Food drive

Pacific Kids is in urgent need of the following items:

• Tinned fish/corned meat
• Tinned fruits
• Tinned jam
• Dry split peas
• Tea
• Breakfast crackers
• Yeast
• Rice
• Flour
• Oil
• Sugar

For more information or to donate to the cause, visit: pacifickids.co.nz or www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/fijikids

- NZ Herald

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