TC Winston

Youth parliamentarians hold memorial to remember cyclone victims

Silence ruled over Sukuna Park for one minute as a crowd gathered to remember the victims of Tropical Cyclone Winston on Friday evening. The memorial night was hosted by the Fiji National Youth Parliament Alumni (2015) and the Aspire Network. People stood with lit candles to remember the 44 people who died as a result of TC Winston. Fiji […]

Lice Movono-Rova and Nacanieli Tuilevuka

March 12, 2016 2:10 pm

Silence ruled over Sukuna Park for one minute as a crowd gathered to remember the victims of Tropical Cyclone Winston on Friday evening.

The memorial night was hosted by the Fiji National Youth Parliament Alumni (2015) and the Aspire Network. People stood with lit candles to remember the 44 people who died as a result of TC Winston.

Fiji National Youth Parliament Alumni Taniela Dau said the Memorial Night was a space for people to come together and stand in solidarity with each other and the victims of TC Winston.

We were all affected by TC Winston, some more than others. Those of us who were in Suva were extremely lucky not to have got the brunt of this disaster but we’re all grieving for what happened in the outer islands and parts of Viti Levu. It was important for us to take a moment to pay tribute and also to honour everyone who had stood up to be part of the relief work.

Youths gathered together with candles yesterday remembering those that lost their lives during TC Winston. Source: Supplied.

For the first few minutes those in attendance stood with lit candles to pay tribute to the 44 victims of TC Winston. The program also featured an open forum for speakers from the community, media and civil society organisations to share and reflect on their experiences.

We sang the National Anthem during the memorial as a sign of unity and strength. We wanted to focus on the recovery and not just in terms of rebuilding but in terms of our own emotional recovery.

The event partners, Aspire Network’s Kaajal Kumar said it was also important to recognize the unsung heroes and the national community for responding so quickly and generously.

We were happy to be part of this event because it’s a call for unity from our young leaders and it’s an important message at this time.

A statement from the organisers say the event also acknowledges the work of the media who covered the cyclone.

We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work of journalists who were at the front-lines covering different stories during TC Winston and in the aftermath.
We understand that the stories you may have heard and the scenes you have witnessed to bring people’s voices to the world were powerful and overwhelming and we would like to humbly invite you for our memorial night.

In an earlier report, Taniela Dau said the alumni felt there was a lot of appeal and relief work taking place and there was a need for some psychological support too.

We felt that the disaster was really traumatic for a lot of us especially those affected and those having to be there to cover the stories, deliver the relief and actually see what had happened it can be overwhelming.
So we thought it was important to have an event where we could just stop for a moment and talk, share and reflect on what we experienced.
So it’s just a show of solidarity and a space to support each other.

Aspire network youths delivering relief packs to those affected by TC Winston. Photo: Aspire Network

The event goal was to encourage unity as the country moves forward from the devastation caused by TC Winston to rebuild the country to what it was.  Kumar adds the network also hopes to recognize the contributions of “our heroes out there”.

We have numerous organizations out there contributing to improve (the) lives of those affected. We want to recognize them.

The alumni group members volunteer individually at different organisations to help with relief efforts including with Aspire Network who have been actively distributing clothing and food items in Tavua, Ba and Rakiraki the past few weeks.

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