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Australia, New Zealand and U.S. help Fiji establish food banks, Prem Rawat steps in

Christian Fernsby |
A food bank initiative has been set up in Fiji to provide free food to those who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, with Australia, New Zealand and the United States all offering assistance.

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Topics: AUSTRALIA    NEW ZEALAND    U.S.    FIJI    

At a ceremony in Suva, the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Joseph Cella, said, "I have united with my diplomatic colleagues, to help the least of our brothers who have been hit through the COVID pandemic and also through Cyclone Harold."

Reports from within in Fiji suggest there are growing fears about the wellbeing of tens of thousands of workers who have been laid off in the country's main tourism towns.

And Fiji's non-government organisations are also trying to shore up support, including FRIEND, the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development, which is offering help to vulnerable families during the coronavirus crisis.

The NGO has developed its own food bank, with support from the European Union, while also encouraging people to grow food in their own gardens to help themselves now and in the future.

FRIEND's founder and chief executive, Sashi Kiran, says right now her organisation is working flat out.

The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) is funding health care, medical supplies, clean water and educational resources to help people in Fiji who are suffering from storm damage and disease.

Cyclone Harold struck the South Pacific island nation on April 8, leaving thousands of people without food, water, shelter and medical care as they were already struggling to contain the COVID-19 virus.

TPRF immediately announced that it would provide $25,000 in aid, and in the weeks since, generous supporters donated to make the $30,000 grant possible. TPRF will also grant additional funds soon to help with ongoing needs in Fiji.

The TPRF grant of $30,000 to Save the Children Fiji will support health and education initiatives in the hardest hit areas, including Kadavu Island. The funds are being used to provide children and families with water, critical hygiene items such as cleaners and soaps, and personal protective equipment. The grant will also fund educational supplies to help children succeed in school, plus health awareness sessions to further limit the spread of sickness.

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