How to show your support for the Fiji Disaster Appeal

During Sunday’s match against Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena, Wasps will be holding a collection for the Fiji Disaster Appeal following the devastating cyclone that hit Fiji in the early hours of last Saturday.

To date, it has been confirmed that 42 people have lost their lives in the tragedy, while tens of thousands of Fijians have lost their homes and are now in emergency shelters.

A number of Wasps’ players have family and friends back home in the Pacific Islands who have been affected by Cyclone Winston. As a mark of respect and to try to play a small part in helping many people re-build their lives, our players have asked to hold a collection to raise money for the Fiji Disaster Appeal.

This appeal is particularly close to the heart of Wasps’ no 8 Nathan Hughes, who was born and raised in Fiji and whose uncle lost much of his house during the events of last weekend. Fortunately his family were sheltering in another part of the building when a tree crashed through the kitchen.

Hughes knows it could have been much worse as many Fijians are now trying to come to terms with losing family members or friends in the disaster.

Nathan said: “When I heard the cyclone was about to hit on Friday night, I was obviously very worried as my brother, sister and close family would all be affected by it. All I wanted was to find out that my family and friends were safe.

“I consider myself and my family very fortunate as thankfully they weren’t hurt. Some people were not as lucky and my heart and prayers go out those people who have been most severely affected. 

“I know how scary cyclones can be, but my brother said this one was nothing like the cyclones we have ever experienced. Cyclone Winston is one of the strongest storms ever to hit the southern hemisphere, so the damage caused has been devastating for so many people.

“Speaking to my family and friends on Friday night, they were just trying to tie the house down and stock up on food before the winds picked up.  It’s hard to put into words how frightening a cyclone can be.  We’re pretty lucky here in the UK weather wise so it’s hard to imagine the sheer strength of wind.

“My cousin described seeing a full water tank flying from the next door neighbours flying past the window and into his garden. Then the wind changed direction and it was picked up and thrown back where it came from. Thankfully there was no one outside to get hit.

“Entire schools have been destroyed, so kids have had to find other schools to go to. Where my uncle lives, it’s likely to take around two months before electricity is back up and running because all power lines are down on the roads.”

A variety of players from Wasps’ non match day squad will have collection buckets at the match this Sunday, while students from Coventry and Warwick University, who are competing in the Varsity match straight after Wasps’ match, will also be supporting the club in bucket collections to help raise much needed funds. 

We would encourage Wasps and Harlequins supporters to donate what they can to help a number of Fijians to get their lives back on track. 

As Nathan explains, even small donations can go a long way: “Every British pound donated would be the equivalent to $3 Fijian dollars which could buy a decent amount of vegetables, fruits or basics for a family. So I would encourage people to even donate a small amount if they can, as it will go such a long way to helping people get through the difficult few months ahead, whether that’s providing food or buying candles while the power is out. 

“From people back home in Fiji and from the Fijian community around the world, I would just like to thank everyone for keeping Fiji in your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate everyone’s kindness and generosity and we thank you in advance for supporting this collection.”

On behalf of everyone at the club, particularly the players and everyone affected by Cyclone Winston, we thank you in advance for your support.

If you can’t be at the game but would still like to donate, please read more information here:

http://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Center/Press-Releases/FIJIAN-GOVERNMENT-ESTABLISHES-DISASTER-RELIEF-FUND.aspx

Further information here:

http://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2016/02/fiji-appeals-funds-after-destruction-caused-cyclone

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyclone-fiji-idUSKCN0VT002