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Apr12ThuSalvation Army staff and volunteers continue work in flood-ravaged Fiji April 12, 2012 by Major Christina Tyson
Salvation Army staff and volunteers are at work in flood-ravaged Fiji as the island nation braces itself for a tropical storm predicted to intensify to cyclone force. A state of natural disaster has been declared for most of the country's western area after heavy flooding killed four people and forced thousands into evacuation centres.
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Salvation Army centres in Lautoka and Nadi are being used as evacuation centres and people have been taking refuge in the Army's premises in Ba. Salvation Army staff and volunteers have been deployed to assist in the emergency situation.
"The people of Fiji were already suffering after January's floods," said Major Iliesa Cola, The Salvation Army's Divisional Commander in Fiji. "These floods are much worse. There is continuous heavy rain and strong winds all around the country, with power cuts and no water supply on the western side of the main island of Viti Levu.
"This natural disaster will have terrible economic implications for our country, but at the moment our priority has to be for people's safety and well-being. Food, clothing, clean water and shelter are the immediate needs.
"Our people are working hard to help. We greatly value the support and prayers of those outside the country to strengthen our efforts. It is already clear that a long-term response will be needed in those areas most affected. We will need all the assistance we can get at this time."
The Salvation Army in New Zealand has launched an appeal to raise funds for the Fiji flood effort. It is requesting financial assistance only, not donations of food or clothing. Monetary donations mean The Salvation Army can assist the struggling economy by purchasing local goods to meet people's needs.
Salvation Army corps across New Zealand will take up "love offerings" during Sunday services over coming weeks to add to the Fiji Flood Appeal.