State of Natural disaster in Fiji lifted
Fiji's National Disaster Controller and Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management has declared the State of Natural Disaster for Tropical Cyclone Winston has been lifted midnight Tuesday.
Permanent secretary, Meleti Bainimarama said that Government will now focus on the rehabilitation and recovery phase.
In an Emergency Committee meeting Tuesday, members unanimously decided to continue support for the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) relief work with the provision of logistical resources including personnel for another period of two weeks.
Bainimarama acknowledged all government ministries and departments for their support to the NDMO during the 60 days of emergency period in providing relief work, ration distribution, and initial disaster damage assessments.
The State of Natural Disaster was declared for 30 days on February 20, a day after TC Winston hit Fiji in February.
It was extended for a month to allow Government to carry out emergency and relief work, particularly in sending out immediate supplies and needs to the affected areas.
Meanwhile, the Fijian Government Monday held a farewell ceremony for the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) personnel as they begin returning home after completing their Tropical Cyclone Winston relief and support operations.
After working for almost two months with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces in delivering critical relief supplies and assisting in repairs of schools, hospitals, and community buildings, the 200+ ADF personnel will return to Australia within the week.
At the farewell ceremony, National Disaster Controller and Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Meleti Bainimarama, thanked the Joint Taskforce Operations Commander, Lt. Colonel Scott Hill, and other Senior Military Officers who were present on behalf of the ADF.
Bainimarama said, “As National Controller, on behalf of the whole of Government and every Fijian, I thank you for your outstanding work and the tremendous impact you have made in places like Koro, Ra, and Northern Tailevu.”
“There is much to be thankful for and words cannot capture the thoughts of sincere appreciation that the Fijian people hold at heart for the work that you have done. Thank you for being there for us when it counted.”
In acknowledging the gratitude of the Fijian Government’s appreciation, ADF Commander, Lt. Col. Scott Hill said that the Australian personnel had learned and gained more from their time in Fiji.
“They were happy to be going home to their families but I think they were spiritually uplifted from the time they spent here in Fiji.”
“The warmth with which we’ve been welcomed by the people of Fiji and the way in which we’ve been integrated throughout the operations is for me personally a highlight and the soldiers who started departing yesterday (Sunday) were quite emotional.