SENIOR clergy and staff in the diocese of Polynesia have been told to concentrate all their efforts and resources on the response to Cyclone Winston, which has left parts of Fiji devastated.
The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Bishop of Polynesia, the Most Revd Dr Winston Halapua, visited some of the most remote communities of Fiji last week, and instructed his clergy and staff to put aside all routine work for two months, to enable the Church to respond to people who have lost everything.
Forty-four people died, 25,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, and 80 per cent of Fijians lost electric power in the category-five tropical cyclone which struck the island on 22 February.
Last week, the Archbishop visited the remote Christian community of Maniava, where 28 of the 32 homes were destroyed, the school and dormitory lost its roof, and all crops were wiped out during the storm. The Archbishop and his team pledged to return to the area with supplies, including seeds ready to plant and building materials.
Together with the Anglican Missions Board of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, he is now drawing up a long-term response plan to help islanders recover. The Board has launched an appeal for emergency funds to help Fiji.