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Officials call it Fiji’s worst ever natural disaster

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, January 26, 2009) – The Government of Vanuatu is donating Vt2 million [US$18,000] as assistance relief towards victims of the flood disaster in Fiji.

First Political Advisor to the Prime Minister Nikenike Vurabaravu confirmed the figure to the DP yesterday.

The cost of damage from flooding in Fiji’s "worst ever natural disaster" is rocketing, its military regime says, with the latest figure estimated at just over $44 million.

The ABC news online reported that Fiji’s Interim provincial development minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau told a press conference that the flooding - which left at least 11 people dead - was the worst ever, eclipsing floods in 1956, 1972 and 1999 and hit the western area of the main island of Viti Levu especially hard.

Agriculture accounted for almost half of the estimated damage, particularly in the key sugar industry while damage to roads, water and sewerage accounted for most the rest.

In Port Vila the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) is launching a public appeal for residents of the Port Vila Municipality who wish to contribute or donate in terms of funds to the recent flood in Fiji.

VRCS Dissemination and Communication Officer David C.Patunvanu told Daily Post that VRCS will be organizing a door knocking appeal on the week starting Monday January 26.

"Volunteers with Red Cross Identification will be going from door to door, targeting all business houses and private residents wishing to contribute to this program, he said.

Funds or Monetary contribution will be the target of this door-to-door appeal.VRCS will highly appreciate all cash contributions made by individuals, business houses, associations, communities, churches, government, and the general public directly to the volunteers, or drop by at our headquarters in the Nambatu area, Opposite Au Bon Marche."

A closing program will be organized before the end of this month and the money raised from this program will be announced before transferring the money to the Fiji Red Cross for humanitarian assistance as the primary objective for all Red Cross around the world.

Meanwhile as of Thursday, the ANZ’s bank five days appeal to raise funds towards the victims of the flood raised over Vt100,000 [US$909.00]

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