Fiji Islands, May, 2012 — Soon after the major flooding disaster that inundated the Western Division of Viti Levu in Fiji, Food for Life Fiji (FFLF) volunteers quickly mobilized their resources to help feed the needy. Their main focus was to distribute cooked vegetarian meals at the evacuation centers and in areas severely affected by the flood.
FFLF Volunteers began distributing food from the Sita Ram Temple in Nadi and Krsna Kaliya Temple in Lautoka. Since the beginning of the relief operation, the Sita Ram Temple has provided a cooking facility, transportation and help with preparing and distributing food in the Nawaka and Navakai areas. Mr. Pandu Das has been coordinating the relief efforts, with Mr. Hari Sauri taking the role of head chef.
In Lautoka, volunteers distributed food in evacuation centres with the help of DISMAC officials. Mr. Kalpesh Patel of Supreme Fuel provided funds and assistance with transporting goods to the Krsna Kaliya Temple and the Jay Dayals Compound in Ba. Mr. Jay Dayal also kindly provided cooking facilities at his home. To date, more than 14,000 meals have been served in the evacuation centres.
Mahasingh Das and his two sons (Sanjeev and Kamal) camped in Ba for 5 days while distributing 1000-1200 meals daily to severely affected villages and settlements. A total number of 7600 meals were given out in Ba. Sacimata Dasi and Radhasharan Das provided help in Ba and Nadi and arranged Donations from Melbourne to prepare food rations. More than 150 families received meals in Ba and Nadi. While Roy and Sanatan Das helped with transport and manpower during the Easter weekend, and Mr. Uday Sen and members of Radio Apna New Zealand procured a massive amount of supplies including rice, dhal, flour, sugar, salt and rotis.
“The second phase of the operation was to serve lunch packs to students in schools in Nadi and Lautoka,” explains FFLF volunteer, Rupanuga Das. Inspiration and help came from Mr. Chandra Shekhar of the Save the Children Fund, who provided Food for Life Fiji with the information that a number of parents were not sending their children to school because they had no food to provide for their children’s lunch. “Seeing this as an urgent need, head chef, Hari Sauri Das, immediately rallied his team to start provided fresh vegetarian lunches for the children, and so far, volunteers have served more than 8000 lunch packs to eleven different schools in Nadi,” he reported.
Meanwhile, an FFL team continues to cook at the Sita Ram Temple in Namaka and we are very grateful to Mr. Manoj and his members. FFL Fiji recently received a major cash donation from Australian Aid (AUD12, 000) and this money is being used to give out lunch packs to affected students. In Lautoka, volunteers have so far distributed more than 12,000 lunch packs to 14 different schools. Appreciation goes out to Mr. Radha Mohini, Mr. Jay Lalita and Mr. Nandanandan Das, who have been loyal and hardworking volunteers in the kitchen.
Mr. Nand Kishore Das has been co-ordinating these relief efforts in Lautoka, while Mr. Shekhar of Save the Children Fund has been providing thousands of dollars worth of food supplies that were donated to Save the Children Fund by FMF. “Our school lunch time distribution will continue for next 4 weeks,” says Rupanuga Das.
This report was compiled by Rupanuga Das.