Staff Reporter –
An Auckland lawyer has appealed to ‘the good people of New Zealand’ to extend their natural generosity to the people of Vanuatu ravaged by Cyclone Pam.
Stated to be one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the Pacific region, Cyclone Pam that hit Vanuatu on March 13, 2015, had the strength of five hurricanes. As well as destroying Port Vila, the Capital City, the Cyclone, with strong wind gusts of about 300 kms per hour destroyed many homes and public properties.
The government declared a state of emergency throughout the country that comprises 65 islands, while UNICEF and other international aid agencies rushed relief to Vanuatu.
New Zealand announced an immediate aid of $3.5 million as the Australian Red Cross and other organisations said that the islands of Vanuatu suffered ‘unbelievable destruction with people sheltering in caves in some areas.”
Taufil Omar, the Auckland Lawyer and his friends and volunteers at Rasheed Memorial Dawah Trust (RMDT) are mobilising funds to assist the families in Vanuatu.
“We are collaborating with ‘Muslim Aid’ Australia to raise money and assist the unfortunate people of Vanuatu. We hope to provide families with at least one month’s supply of food in the Islands of Efate and Tanna. Our volunteers will distribute all the food items personally to ensure transparency and accountability for donors. We will travel to Vanuatu at our cost. There will be no administrative or other costs,” he said.
Donations can be remitted to the Bank account of the Rasheed Memorial Dawah Trust (ASB Bank 12-3043-0365388-00) with ‘Vanuatu Appear’ as Reference.
Mr Omar said that the first phase of relief included distribution of food packets, supply of tarpaulin for temporary shelter and storage needs.
“We will undertake provision of further assistance through ground contacts for on-going support in the second stage. Our objective is to alleviate and ease the burden of the struggling population in Vanuatu,” he said.
Mr Omar, who is Director of ‘Kiwi Lawyers,’ has been involved in relief work in Samoa, which was seriously affected by tsunami last year, is keen to mobilise community support for such relief efforts.
Cyclone Pam wreaked havoc in Vanuatu (Photo Courtesy: BBC News)