The people of Fiji are extremely grateful for Samoa’s generosity.
So says Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa, a Member of Parliament from Fiji who is in Samoa for the fourth Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum being held this week.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, the leader of the Opposition in Fiji said her people want to thank Samoa for all that they have donated since her country was struck by Cyclone Winston. Ms. Kepa said that Cyclone Winston devastated her country and when the Fijians needed help, Samoa was one of the first countries to put their hand up.
“Cyclone Winston which is the worst cyclone ever to hit us was so unexpected especially for it to be a category 5 cyclone,” she said.
“When the devastation occurred it was something that none of us has ever experienced.
“In fact very few people knew what the intensity of a category 5 was so when it hit us many people were taken by surprise. The path in which it was predicted to take was different from what actually happened.”
According to Ms. Kepa, the country was not ready to handle such an intense natural disaster and the support of different nations helped out a lot.
“So what we found out was that the Fijian government and the people could not cope with the magnitude of the Cyclone and we were very thankful to the different governments including the government of Samoa who came to assist us,” she said.
“Assistance came almost immediately, we got New Zealand and Australia in right away but we know the resources those two countries hold but other small countries in the Pacific such as Samoa still managed to find a way to help with their limited resources.”
Ms. Kepa also praised the efforts of the Samoan people who held small fundraising events for Fiji.
“Aside from the Government we are greatly thankful for the fundraising groups who also helped through donations,” she said. “Both Fiji and Samoa are not rich countries and your country has to look after your own people but the fact that you are able to share your resources with us leaves us humble and grateful.”