Last night over 300 people gathered at Merrylands RSL for a fundraiser to support those who were devastated by Cyclone Winston in Fiji. The north of the country and the outlying islands were particularly hard hit.
70% of the sugar cane crop - which brings much income to poorer villages - was lost in the cyclone. It is estimated that it will take at least another year for some sense of normalcy to return to the affected parts of this beautiful country. And now that the news cycle has moved on and with the presence of aid agencies winding down, the next few months will be telling.
Calls are being made for financial support and particularly for Australians to chose Fiji as a choice of holiday destination. Tourism, despite all its pitfalls, is an important source of income for Fiji.
Cyclone Winston was the second strongest cyclone ever to be recorded and there are fears that with the global climate becoming more volatile, storms of similar and greater intensity will become more common. Fiji is particularly vulnerable to climate change and this recent disaster is a reminder of how the Pacific Islands - Australia's direct neighbors - will be some of the first and worst affected.
Here, two members of the fabulous group 'Rako Pasefika' perform at last night's fundraiser.