Dunedin man raises money for Cyclone Winston-hit Rakiraki
An appeal set up by a young Dunedin man to raise money for families in Fiji's Rakiraki district which copped the wrath of Cyclone Winston has quickly raised more than $5000.
George Giblin, 23, and his family have strong ties to Rakiraki and have a house on the outlying island of Nananu-I-Ra, built by his late grandfather Fred, which has been badly damaged by the cyclone.
His father Nick travelled from Dunedin after the cyclone to check up not only on their house but to make sure close family friends, unreacheable in the wake of Winston, were OK.
"He was shocked to see what had happened to Rakiraki, so many houses looked as though they had exploded from the inside."
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Thankfully, no one they knew had been killed or injured. More than 40 people have been killed.
Giblin said most of the houses in Rakiraki had been wrecked, leaving hundreds of people homeless and in urgent need of help.
"Being a third world country, a lot of locals have gone from having very little, to having nothing at all, literally overnight."
While Giblin was unable to travel at short notice to Fiji, he saw an appeal: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/helprakiraki as a way of doing something for the locals quickly.
"Rakiraki is just a place we really love and have spent a lot of time as a family. And we know many good people living there who need our help."
He said he hoped to finalise with his parents the best way of distributing the money effectively in the coming days - and none of it would go to his own family.
"Every single cent raised in this campaign will be given directly to those Fijian locals who need it the most."
He said he had set up the appeal with Rakiraki in mind, and was not running it as a counter to those run by Unicef and other charities.
"I'm blown away by the response we have got already."
"Those who have visited Fiji will know what a beautiful and wonderful country it is, the people are some of the friendliest, caring, unassuming and appreciative on the planet."