Plimmerton Rotary are committing funds to the crisis in Fiji, specifically to Taveuni Island where members of our club have done so much in the past to build classrooms, and refurbish a science block, and create a counselling space.
We hope to send money this week, earmarked for Taveuni Island, through Rotary New Zealand World Community Service (RNZWCS). If you could spare a few dollars to augment our gift, please send it directly to the Rotary Club of Plimmerton Charitable Trust - 06 0565 0115702 00 - putting 'Taveuni' and 'donation' into the subject lines. Your generous donation will be added to funds from our Charitable Trust and sent to RNZWCS for them to send through their channels directly to Taveuni. We understand that damage to the schools is not too serious but that the jetty in the south of the island has collapsed so the delivery of vital supplies is proving difficult. Our main concern is that the children's education is not disrupted more than is absolutely necessary. If schools shut, teachers go back to their villages and may not return. We want to make sure that this doesn't happen.
Stuart Batty, Director of RNZWCS for our District writes, 'Firstly we have had some inquiries about the misinformation put out by TV 3 last week. It was great to see the Emergency Response Kits (ERKs) being distributed in Fiji and a good interview with Rotarian Rick Eyre.
'However, to say the ERKs are funded by the NZ Government was a gross misrepresentation. In fact the Government contribute some funding, in recent years approx. 10%, and on few occasions they provide the airlift out of New Zealand.
'Then there are the thousands of hours donated by Rotarians who purchase the kits and contents and pack them in New Zealand. No mention about that. Please pass this on to anyone who should comment about the TV 3 article'.
On a more positive note, a Rotarian distributing supplies in Fiji writes, 'Emergency Response Kits and Food Parcels, all funded by Rotary New Zealand, together with clothing, bottled water, fresh fruit and vegetables were distributed in two districts on Sunday.
'In the past week a constant parade of organisations and individuals have mobilised to take goods to the needy. Today it was no different and in my 20 years' experience the largest mobilisation of people from Suva travelled to the affected areas in private cars, taxis, commercial vehicles, trucks and buses. Our convoy was the largest Rotary has ever put together; over 30 vehicles and over 100 volunteers. A very humbling and soul warming experience. As we split up into approximately 30 communities, it would seem one week later most had still not received any significant support. The scale of this disaster is daunting. And this is just on the main island of Viti Levu, let alone all the other island communities'.
Replenishment of our ERKs is now a priority, but this will require significant donations as requested in our earlier request for donations. 1,000 ERKs now appears to be the minimum we should be assembling annually. Last year following Cyclone PAM, a number corporate organisations and churches were most generous. Rotary New Zealand is pleased to approach anyone reading this who might know someone they consider a prospect. Let us know.