I have received a note from my friend Nilesh Goundar who is an elder in the assembly at Samambula Gospel Chapel. He works with Australia Aid in Fiji and is therefore well informed about the aid effort in Fiji following the devastating cyclone. He has my complete confidence in these practical matters.
"I've just come back from Koro island on a day's relief flight on Australian helicopters as part of the Australian delegation. We took shelter material (tarpaulin) and tools.
Koro is one of the hardest hit areas. I have never seen anything like this and I have experienced many a cyclone. We spent the day talking to stakeholders and villages doing assessments and who are still in a state of shock. It will literally take months for them to recover and rebuild. To reiterate, most if not all relief supplies are available in Fiji including hygiene products, food, clothes, shoes and household and building items.
Although intentions are well-meaning we do not want to create a burden on local counterparts or brethren in terms of getting clearances for things that are abundantly available for purchase in Fiji. Those of us in development have much experience in these matters and the last thing we need is to stand in a queue to pay for boxes of toilet paper, soap and what not that is readily available at affordable prices in Fiji.
So far 50 packs of clothes and households and items have been sent to Ra and 100 packs are going tomorrow to Ba. The coordinating centre for this is Samabula Gospel Chapel in Suva, Fiji".
If anyone wishes to help the aid effort being undertaken by the assemblies in Fiji then please send funds to Nilesh Goundar through Lord's Work Trust or contact him directly by email at email@example.com.