Today is a proud day to be Fijian, as our nation comes to the aid of the climate-vulnerable on two fronts across Oceania.
This morning, we bid farewell to a 54-member engineering contingent from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to assist in combatting Australia’s bushfire crisis. At the same time, across our islands, RFMF personnel and disaster officials are clearing roads, restoring services and providing relief supplies to Fijians impacted by the heavy rains and flooding brought by Tropical Cyclone Tino, which arrived three weeks after Cyclone Sarai this same season.
Australians have been there for our people in the aftermath of past disasters, and Fiji is proud to do the same in this time of great need. It speaks to the capacity of the RFMF and the goodness of the Fijian character that we are willing and able to stand in solidarity with Australia while aiding our own citizens at home.
As Australians battle the bushfire crisis and Fijians recover from cyclones Sarai and Tino, we are bearing witness to the powerful resilience of the Pacific spirit. I have long said that we are all in the same canoe when it comes to combatting climate change. While the climate emergency presents a new and frightening reality, if we paddle together, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.
Vinaka to our troops and their families for their service, and may their bravery help lift the Fijian and Australian people to their feet following these disasters.