In late February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, killing 44 people and damaging or destroying over 30,000 homes, nearly 500 schools and almost 100 healthcare centers. The most severe cyclone on record to hit the nation also caused widespread flooding, badly damaging the infrastructure. The destruction of farms, especially sugar crops, on which many Fiji Islanders depend, affected about 60% of Fiji’s population.
The Fiji Islander diaspora communities quickly sent aid. Fundraising efforts in places such as Australia, New Zealand and North America helped provide for short-term needs.
Months later, tens of thousands of Fiji residents are still using tents for homes and schools. Building materials and available carpenters are in short supply. Some people have been foraging for wild plants as their own plantings have not yet been ready for harvest.
Many of those in the Fiji Islander diaspora emigrated due to ongoing tensions between ethnic Fijians and those of Indian descent. As people from different backgrounds around the world partner together to rebuild what was destroyed by the cyclone, may a stronger sense of unity and cooperation arise in Fiji.
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15-16): Our Father, we lift up those who are lacking proper food and shelter in Fiji. Help us to have compassion that leads to appropriate action.
“In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22): Lord Jesus, be the cornerstone of Fiji. Bring spiritual healing and ethnic reconciliation so that all the peoples in Fiji and their diasporas may be built together into Your dwelling place.
Ask God how else to pray.
Contact a church or ministry organization which is assisting Fiji relief efforts to see how you can help.