Aid sought for 14,000 in Fiji displaced by flooding
Apr 08, 2012 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Fiji Club of Hawaii is seeking donations of food, clothes and other goods to help thousands of displaced residents in flood-ravaged Fiji.
The South Pacific nation declared a state of natural disaster last week after continued heavy rain and thunderstorms led to severe flooding that displaced as many as 14,000 people and temporarily halted flights in and out of the country.
"It's very sad that many of the people who are affected the most are already very poor people," said Luse Lewenilovo, who is helping to organize the Hawaii drive. "There is great need there."
The club is working with the Hawaii Technology Institute and Air Pacific to collect and deliver donations for distribution in Fiji.
Lewenilovo said the club is seeking donations of canned goods, bottled water, rice, children's clothes, linens and other nonperishable goods.
At least seven people were killed in the flooding, according to Fiji Times Online. One person is still missing.
The Fijian island of Viti Levu -- site of the nation's capital, Suva, and home to roughly three-fourths of the total population -- has been particularly hard hit. According to radio station 1233 ABC Newcastle, flood damage in the town of Nadi, a significant population center, has left "not a single shop intact."
At the height of the crisis, flooded runways and access roads left thousands of tourists stranded.
While the waters have receded, serious problems remain.
Widespread power outages are still being reported in Nadi and other areas and water service has yet to be fully restored.
Last week, authorities warned of the spread of communicable diseases at the more than 180 evacuation centers established around the country. Police and military personnel have also been patrolling evacuated areas to prevent looting.
The U.S. government has donated $150,000 for relief supplies, including blankets, water purification tablets and hygiene kits.
The cyclone season in the South Pacific lasts from November to April.
Donations are being accepted at the Hawaii Technology Institute, 629 Pohukaina St., from 2 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. For more information, call 386-7740.
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