Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare was flown by an Australian defense force helicopter yesterday for a visit to Fiji’s Nakodu Mudu village-one of the hardest hit areas by Cyclone Winston.
All buildings in the village situated in Fiji’s northern island of Koro- homes, church and school buildings and classrooms- as well as food gardens were destroyed by the cyclone, leaving the entire population to live in tents and solely dependent on relief supplies for survival.
The visit follows Prime Minister Sogavare’s presentation of a FJ$1.277-Million cheque from the Solomon Islands Government to the Fiji Government for emergency relief efforts following Cyclone Winston.
The Prime Minister was brought to tears when he visited the village children in their tent classroom where they sang to him and read to him a poem about their petrifying experiences during Cyclone Winston and their determination to rise above the challenge of massive loss it brought them.
In turn, the Prime Minister encouraged them to live up to their determination and urged them to keep their faith in God despite their challenging situation.
“I’m so moved to hear of your determination to rise above the challenges brought about by Cyclone Winston. You can do it with the help of God who knows and cares about you.”
The Prime Minister also told the young students that they are in their good hands of their government and friends of Fiji from across the region and the world who care about them and are committed to help them out of their situation.
He said he is also pleased to see Australia and New Zealand play a crucial role in supporting Fiji with its emergency relief operation.
He was accompanied by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Ms Meg Taylor, the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Patterson Oti, Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Joseph Ma’ahanua, the Ambassador for Climate Change in Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Amena Yauvoli.
Prime Minister Sogavare is in Fiji for the Suva leg of his MSG Capitals’ visit.