Rotary club sends iron to Fiji

Mosgiel Rotarian Lindsay Thorburn with a photograph of a school in Fiji destroyed by Cyclone...
Mosgiel Rotarian Lindsay Thorburn with a photograph of a school in Fiji destroyed by Cyclone Winston. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

A discussion at the Mosgiel Rotary Club about how to help post-cyclone Fiji should soon result in 32 tonnes of corrugated iron heading from New Zealand to Taveuni Island.

Now Rotary is looking for public donations to get the project finished.

Rotary member Lindsay Thorburn said Rotary International had provided 2000 ShelterBoxes, a disaster response package including a tent, blankets, groundsheets and water storage and filtration equipment.

But Mosgiel members wondered what they could do long-termThe answer to that question was to send corrugated iron, which Mr Thorburn, also ShelterBox New Zealand director, said was ‘‘one of the best commodities'' in Fiji at the moment, as the island country continued to rebuild after the cyclone.

Mosgiel put out a call for help to clubs in its district, and was now $22,500 short of an $80,000 goal to fund the iron and shipping.

The club also got assistance from Otago Long Run Iron and Calder Stewart Roofing, as well as Fulton Hogan, which had agreed to send two containers of iron free of charge.

Other companies had also helped out.

Mr Thorburn said the iron would be going to schools on Taveuni Island.

Rotary members in the area had told him it would take years to recover from the cyclone.

The project was important because Fiji was ‘‘our neighbour''.

‘‘A lot of people go there for holidays.

‘‘It's nice to think we can help them out.

‘‘It's a humanitarian thing.''

The iron was being sent to Christchurch to be formed. It would then go by ship to Suva, and be loaded on to trucks.

Those trucks would go by ship to Taveuni, drive off and unload the iron, then drive back on to the ship to return to Suva.

The iron and the transportation was worth $200,000.

On Taveuni, local Rotary members would look after the cargo, and make sure the iron was used to best help local people.

Donations can be deposited with Fiji Iron, ANZ Bank, account number: 06-0939-0153245-01, or Rotary Club of Mosgiel Charitable Trust, PO Box 306, Mosgiel 9053.

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