Fiji: Aid getting through, slowly

(NZ Defence Force)
(NZ Defence Force)

Four days after Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, aid parcels are slowly making their way to the areas in desperate need of them.

Today we’re travelling with Rotary International, who are distributing large boxes funded by the New Zealand Government.

Rick Eyre has spent the morning organising the shipment to Rakiraki, two hours east of Lautoka.

"We have 150 food bags that will be going out to two of the major villages in the [Rakiraki] province," says Mr Eyre.

The blue boxes contain water, food, tarpaulins and something desperately needed - water purification tablets. But not everyone will get one.

"There’s not enough, but while we were on the ground yesterday doing our [initial] assessments, we were also feeding information to other corporate organisations, and everyday we’re getting something to deliver to these people."

Mr Eyre says the villages we’re headed to have had minimal contact with anyone from aid providers, or the government.

"The first village we went to yesterday has around 150 homes, and 74 have been destroyed. They haven’t had any assistance going on to day four, so we’ll be the first assistance going there."

Just what time this aid will arrive is still unclear. It’s slowly being placed in a truck ready to head off, and it’s clear things don’t move at a rapid pace here in Fiji.

There is some respite however, with power being restored to much of Nadi and Lautoka, and many businesses in the central areas back up and running.

But for those on the outer islands, living conditions are still disastrous. My colleagues Melissa and John filmed in one of them yesterday, Malakai. It was completely destroyed, the people helpless.

It’s going to take a long time for things to have a sense of normality, and sanitation is the biggest issue - something that’s going to become a big problem in the coming hours and days.