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The Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) comprising of spouses of Ambassadors from Asia-Pacific countries based in Tokyo and the Japanese ladies hosted its annual “Charity Bazaar” at the ANA Inter-Continental Hotel, Tokyo on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. The event was officiated by HIH Princess Hanako Hitachi. With 23 member countries from the Asia Pacific region and a general membership of over 300, the bazaar provided a good opportunity for the public to witness the fruit and efforts of diplomatic and Japanese members of ALFS working together. Proceeds from the charity event are shared amongst participating countries for charitable assistance in their home countries.
HE Mr Isikeli Mataitoga and Madame Venina Mataitoga greeted HIH Princess Hanako Hitachi at the Fiji Handicraft booth and introduced Her Imperial Highness to the various products offered by our booth. Fiji’s participation included a Fiji Food booth and a separate booth for Handicraft goods. Fiji brand commodities like AQUA Pacific water, Punjas Curry spices, Fiji Raw Cane Sugar, Pure Fiji and Virgin Coconut Oil products generated quite a lot of interest.
The yearly occasion remains as a tremendous opportunity to market Fiji in terms of tradable commodities and Fiji as a tourist destination. The Embassy is truly grateful for the assistance from Fiji friends who volunteered to assist at the Fiji booths and all to those that purchased the FET – ALFS Charity Bazaar 2016 Door and Raffle tickets. The four-hour event was enjoyed by everyone who attended.
Embassy of the Republic of Fiji, Tokyo
7 April 2016
In a solemn ceremony held today Thursday 7 April 2016 at the Japanese Parliamentary Complex in Tokyo, Japan, the Honorable Mr. Fukushiro NUKAGA MP, Chairman of the Japan/Fiji Parliamentary Friendship League handed the financial donation from the Members of the Parliamentary League to Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga. The money which will be initially deposited in the Bank Account opened in Tokyo for the PM’s TC Winston Relief and Rehabilitation Appeal before it will be sent to main account in Fiji, at the end of the appeal period which is 31 May 2016.
The Hon Mr. Fukushiro Nukaga MP handing the donation Ambassador Mataitoga on behalf of the members of the Japan/Fiji Parliamentary Friendship League
Ambassador Mataitoga in accepting the generous donation from Honorable Nukaga, expressed the deep appreciation and gratitude of the government and people of Fiji to the Japanese Government and people for their support towards Fiji in the aftermath of the devastation caused by TC Winston in Fiji on 20-21 February 2016. He also underscore the need for further Japanese assistance, in the rebuilding stage post TC Winston, in ensuring a more resilient and safe community is developed. Fiji will bounce back from this experience, more mature, resilient and a safer country as we learn the lessons of TC Winston.
There were three Ministers and 7 other Member of the Japanese Parliament attended the ceremony to personally express their condolences for the loss of life caused by TC Winston and to show their solidarity and empathy towards Fiji and its people at this difficult period in our history.
Fiji Embassy, Tokyo
7 April 2016.
Residents severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston in the north-west of VitiLevu have received desperately needed relief supplies during a three day tour of the region by the Attorney-General, Hon Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
The AG fanned out across a wide area with two other Government ministers – the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. Hon. Rosy Akbar, and the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Infrastructure and Transport, Hon Parveen Kumar.
They distributed a large portion of the 10,000 food packs that have been donated to the cyclone relief effort by two of Fiji’s biggest companies – CJ Patel and Punja and Sons. They also began the distribution of a large number of kitchen utensils donated by R.C Manubhai.
The AG’s tour took in cyclone-ravaged areas of Raviravi, Karavi and Yalalevu, (Ba) on Friday, Korobuya, Nabutini, Busabusa and Veisaru (Ba) and Korovou (Tavua) on Saturday, and Nadhari, and Navia (Ba) on Sunday.
In addition, Minister Akbar visitedMaruru, Yalalevu, Clopcott ,Nukulua, Vatuvui and Sarava. And Minister Kumar visited Veisaru, Veitiyaka, Qerelevu, Nakavika, Nabatolu, Itatoko, Korovutu and Navoli.
It was the first time many of those affected by Cyclone Winston had received any form of assistance since it cut a swathe through the region a week ago. And residents expressed their relief and thanks to the AG and the two other Minsters.
An emotional Teja Singh, who is a 71-year-old farmer in the Raviravi area of Ba, said he had lost all his belongings in the cyclone and was very grateful to have finally received some assistance.
“No-one has visited us until now and I am very happy to see you”, he told the AG, “ I have lived here all my life but have nothing left. All my possessions are gone and my sugar cane has been damaged. We desperately need help so thank you for coming with this food”, he said.
Another resident, Naushad Ali, said that of all the cyclones in his lifetime, Winston was the worst.“ It is the first time that I have seen a cyclone cause so much damage. Everything is still wet and our things are ruined. Please help us,” he pleaded.
Vijayanti Mala also warmly thanked the AG for the assistance he had brought and said it meant a great deal to her and her family.
“Our roof blew away and nothing much is left. We all desperately need help. My son is getting married soon but my kitchen has been damaged. How am I going to prepare for the wedding?”, she asked.
The AG said all Fijians must stay united as the relief effort continues and help each other through the challenge of the coming weeks and months.
“ It is critical that we all come together as a nation at this time. It is the only way we are going to put this tragedy behind us quickly. Many of the people we were able to help are Fijians who had fallen through the cracks of the relief effort so far. We have to keep improving the delivery of food water and adequate shelter. We cannot leave anyone behind. So I appeal to everyone to highlight areas of acute need so that the Government can step in and provide prompt assistance”, he said.
CJ Patel has donated 5000 food packs valued at $232,000 and Punja and Sons another 5000 valued at $129,000 to assist the relief effort. R.C Manubhai have donated kitchen utensils to the value of $15,000 and mattresses and roofing supplies worth another $20,000.
The AG warmly thanked all three companies for their contribution to alleviating the plight of cyclone victims.
“Fijian companies are responding magnificently to our call for assistance and I want to pay tribute to CJ Patel,Punja and Sons, R.C Manubhai and all those other companies who are being exemplary corporate citizens by supporting their fellow Fijians in this crisis”, he said.
Source – Fiji Government Media Centre
Bula vinaka and a good afternoon my fellow Fijians.
Tropical Cyclone Winston has moved far to the west of our shores and is a lot weaker than it was when it hit Fiji. However, we are still experiencing heavy rain throughout our islands, and should remain on high alert for flooding in low-lying areas.
While the worst of the storm is behind us, Winston has left a terrible trail of destruction in its wake. In response, our relief effort is in full swing. We are spreading out all over the country, identifying areas of need and doing everything in our power to provide our people with relief supplies and assistance as fast as we can.
Our response is coordinated and involves our disaster management officials, the RFMF and the police. And I would like to pay tribute to our friends in the region and around the world, along with our local businesses and ordinary Fijians, who are rallying to our assistance in our hour of need. On behalf of the Fijian people, vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.
We’ve received an enormous amount of interest from Fijians here and abroad, and others who recognize our dire circumstances, wanting to provide assistance. We need to make sure that your donations go to the right people. Therefore, all donations must go through our National Disaster Management Office. From there, we can determine how best to deliver these funds where they are needed most and ensure that they are coordinated at a national level.
All overseas donations will be duty and VAT exempt. Donors simply need to obtain a letter from NDMO. So please, reach out to our National Coordinator to receive all the necessary approvals to avoid undue charges.
The need is great and it is also urgent. Every Government agency is working together to deliver aid where it is needed, speedily and efficiently. We cannot afford bureaucratic obstruction and delay. We also need to avoid duplication in the provision of services. So I ask all of the various non-government organisations, religious bodies and community groups who are involved in this effort to go through the NDMO to ensure we get this assistance to the people who need it most.
Unfortunately the recovery process will take time. Perhaps a long time. Almost no part of our nation has been left unscarred. And many of our rural and maritime areas bore the brunt of Winston’s fury. But we are working around the clock to address the needs of our people and whoever you are in Fiji, wherever you are in Fiji, we are doing our best to reach you.
We realise the desperate position that you are in. We realise how traumatic this is for you and your families. And we ask for your patience and understanding. But as Prime Minister, I also want you to know that we will not rest until we have reached you and given you the helping hand you so badly need and deserve.
We have already made a degree of progress in alleviating this crisis. We’ve identified downed power lines and have begun repairing our fallen towers. Power has been restored to some areas, but in others – including our Western Division – damage to our power network is extensive and repairs will take considerable time.
Our international airlines have resumed service, as well as on major domestic routes. Our tourism industry has weathered this storm and the vast majority of our hotels and tourism services are fully operational. Repairs to our schools are underway, because I believe it is important to get our students back to school as soon as possible.
Medical teams and assessment teams have been deployed throughout our islands to provide emergency health services, identify further needs and begin responding – including in our affected maritime areas. We also have also been distributing food rations wherever Fijians have demonstrated an urgent need for assistance.
The destruction caused by this cyclone has also put many Fijians in a tight spot financially. So the Ministry of Finance has met with the banking industry to develop assistance packages. Banks have given assurances that existing client’s loans can be restructured in light of these events. In addition, the Association of Banks in Fiji this Friday will release a new product that will allow Fijians to take out unsecured loans to repair their homes at interest rates below 5% over a five year term. These loans can be applied for over the next three months and final details will be released this Thursday.
FNPF is also making $1000 available to its members for immediate disaster relief, with an additional $5000 available for home repairs. For those who have experienced even greater damage, the FNPF will also offer greater assistance through the housing allocation fund so that you can rebuild your homes and put this disaster behind you as soon as possible.
In the coming days, I will also make an announcement regarding a specific package to assist those who have lost their homes or whose homes have been damaged and need repairs.
Many of our other sectors still require substantial assessment before we can implement appropriate responses. But right now, the priority is on restoring essential services, and supplying our people with sufficient food, water and shelter.
To keep everyone updated on Government’s recovery efforts, the Minister for National Disaster Management will be giving situation reports twice daily at 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. Please listen in because these reports will contain valuable information to get Fiji back on its feet.
My fellow Fijians, I promised you this would be a time of action. It has been and it will be. It is time for Fiji to fight back, a time to stand together as one people and rebuild our beloved country. Over the coming weeks, our resolve and tenacity will be sorely tested. But it is a challenge the Fijian people are more than capable of meeting.
I urge you all to do all you can to assist your fellow Fijians, follow Government’s instructions and put the needs of the less fortunate first during this recovery process. We have suffered a terrible blow and our hearts go out especially to those who have lost family members. But the Fijian spirit is alive and well and together, we will rebuild our great nation.
God bless you all and God bless Fiji. Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.
Source – Fiji Government Media Centre
Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management – Hon. Mr Inia Seruiratu, held bilateral talks with his counterpart, Hon. Kono Taro MP, Minister of State for Disaster Management, at Disaster Management Bureau Building on Friday 29th January. The meeting was an opportunity for the Hon. Seruiratu to update the Japanese government on the disaster management initiatives being pursued by the Fiji government, as well as put forward request for assistance to build capacity in the area of disaster management.
The Hon. Minister Seruiratu was accompanied to the meeting by Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan, H.E Mataitoga and Fiji Embassy staff, First Secretary Mr.Nadalo and and Second Secretary Ms.Savu.
Fiji is looking at Japan as a potential partner to help realise our true potential in the agriculture sector, in particular with agro-processing.
Agriculture Minister, Inia Seruiratu, met with the Japanese Minister for Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Hiroshi Moriyama, on Tuesday 26th January, in Tokyo.
The meeting was to discuss and promote trade and investment cooperation between Fiji and Japan.
“Fiji has huge potential in its agriculture sector in view of agro-processing,” Mr Seruiratu said.
“But for these to materialise will require the assistance of development partners, and Japan is a partner that Fiji looks to for relevant support in this regard.
“In particular, Fiji needs an agro-processing laboratory, food technologists and value-adding technology, and know-how to strengthen its value-adding capacity.
“This is to realise the full potentials of its abundant tropical fruits and vegetables in terms of exports.
“Experts are also required to undertake detail study to help identify and strategise agro-produce for value-adding to export.”
In response, Mr Moriyama said considering similar characteristics of Fiji and Japan’s climate and agro produce, the provision of expertise assistance would prove ideal.
The Hon.Seruiratu was accompanied to the meeting by Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan, H.E Mataitoga and Fiji Embassy staff, Counselor Mrs Korovou and Second Secretary Ms.Savu.