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Solomon Islands assist Australia, Fiji victims

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Solomon Islands has provided cash donations towards the victims of the recent bushfires in Australia and flood victims in Fiji which killed more than 200 innocent lives in the two countries.

A share of the donation was also given to the Guadalcanal Provincial Government to assist ongoing relief efforts after the February floods that killed at least 13 people and living hundreds homeless in West Guadalcanal.

The painful triple disasters have triggered sympathy among leaders and several individual business figures in Honiara to form a charitable appeal to the government and the business community to raise funds for victims who suffered loss of lives and property.

Solomon Island Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena immediately became the patron of the Solomon, Australia and Fiji Disaster Relief Committee which was chaired by prominent businessman, Sir Thomas Chan.

Following four fundraising events, the Committee raised a total SB$465,853 which was divided into equal shares of SI$155, 284 for each of the three countries.

Sir Nathaniel donated the funds to Australian High Commission to Solomon Islands, Peter Hooton, Fijian Representative, Atu Balekana and Premier of Guadalcanal, Steven Panga at a brief ceremony at the Government House on Saturday, March 21.

Sir Nathaniel said the donation, although small, comes right from the hearts of Solomon Islanders to help their devastated neighbours.

"Giving from the heart shows a measure of concern that should unite humanity during times of calamity," Sir Nathaniel said. "Solomon Islands equally suffered from natural disasters and that should bring people together to show concern for the victimized".

Chairman of the Committee Sir Thomas Chan echoed similar sentiments.

"I hope the charity fund, although small will help some of the victims of the three countries to ease their difficult times," he said. "This comes from the hearts of our people of Solomon Islands".

Australian High Commissioner, Peter Hooton thanked Solomon Islanders for their passion and generosity to the people of Australia, especially when Solomon Islands equally suffered from flooding.

"The assistance is a true measure of friendship between the two countries," Mr Hooton said.

Guadalcanal Premier, Steven Panga said Solomon Islands is prone to disasters and for a long time has relied on others for help during times of trouble.

While praising the donation, Mr Panga said the Charity Committee has shown that Solomon Islanders can help each other in whatever small way they can in times of a natural disaster.