Lockdown prevents Kiwis from supporting Pacific cyclone victims


Tropical Cyclone Harold has presented the challenge of how to respond to two over-lapping emergency responses; COVID-19 and Harold.

The executive director of the Council of International Development, Josie Pagani, said that during the lockdown the charities aren’t able to fundraise and the public can’t donate.

She said the international aid charities typically get about two-thirds of their revenue from public donations.

Pagani said aid organisations won’t be allowed to enter the countries due to COVID -19 but she said there is still a lot they can do and are doing.

She said this includes releasing stock, from tarpaulins for shelter to wash kits for sanitation, and money to support and pay the salaries of their Pacific partners – the first responders, who need all the help they can get.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Catholic Bishops’ agency for justice, peace and development, is working with their partners on the ground in Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga to address the impact of Cyclone Harold, especially in the face of the global pandemic.

Caritas is supporting impacted areas through solidarity funding and assistance in the management and replenishment of pre-positioned emergency supplies.

Local efforts remain at the forefront of emergency response, and Caritas is committed to working with communities to respond to their immediate and long-term needs.

Cyclone Harold passed through Vanuatu as a Category 5 storm, directly hitting several islands and causing significant damage to communication, water and power lines, as well as crops, shops and homes.

In the Solomon Islands, a ferry carrying passengers from Honiara to Malaita encountered severe weather due to the cyclone. 27 people were swept overboard, and many remain missing. Massive flooding has damaged shelter and water supplies throughout the country.

Although it had weakened slightly, Cyclone Harold also reached Fiji and Tonga, bringing flooding, heavy rains and large waves.

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