OCEANIA/FIJI ISLANDS - Columban missionaries care for children after schools collapsed in cyclone

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 natural catastrophe  

Nick Hobgood

Suva (Agenzia Fides) – In the Fiji islands some 40 per cent of the population was affected by tropical cyclone Winston, which struck the archipelago on 20 February. Presently about 62,000 people are living in emergency centres. The Missionary Society of Saint Columban, one of several religious communities on the islands, has been in Fiji for over 60 years. In a report sent to Fides, the United States Catholic Mission Association USCMA calls for solidarity in support of the religious and the cyclone victims and various initiatives. Initiatives includea community prayer service on March 5 and a solidarity campaign promoted by the Global Catholic Climate Movement. “Three schools in the parish of Ba suffered serious damages, one dormitory collapsed and the children are sleeping in the church” the report says. The cyclone, the first category 5 hurricane ever to hit the island state, lashed the archipelago of 300 islands with winds up to 325km an hour destroying homes and downing electricity lines. The government has declared a 30 day state of natural calamity. Communications are gradually returning to normal, but most homes outside the capital are still without power. (AP) (2/3/2016)