HEU commits $5,000 to relief efforts after cyclone disaster in Fiji


HEU has donated $5,000 to Oxfam-Canada to support relief efforts in Fiji in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston.

Oxfam has been working to improve the quality of life for those displaced by the cyclone since disaster struck in late February.

The tropical storm left more than 40 people dead, whole villages destroyed, and 117 schools damaged or wiped out. Oxfam reports that the category 5 cyclone generated gusts of up to 325 kilometres per hour, with average winds of 230 kilometres per hour.

“This tragedy in Fiji is heartbreaking,” says HEU financial secretary Donisa Bernardo. “It has deeply touched the lives of Canadians, particularly those who have family and friends in Fiji.”

Bernardo says the union is very concerned about the storm’s lasting implications. “Many in Fiji are left without homes or access to clean water,” she says. “HEU’s donation will go toward the delivery of clean water, hygiene kits and safe sanitation to help stop the spread of infectious disease.”

The cyclone forced more than 50,000 people to seek shelter in nearly 800 evacuation centres around Fiji. An estimated 350,000 people lived within the path of the eye of the storm. Many of the displaced Fijians lived in homes constructed out of scrap materials which did not survive the cyclone.

Oxfam is appealing for funds from the public to help reach communities hit by Cyclone Winston with vital emergency aid.

Donations can be made online.