Several weeks ago there was a cyclone in the Pacific area--Cyclone Pam--which caused much devastation on several islands. Our area was not ravaged by the storm but several islands had higher than normal tides which caused much damage to homes, gardens and wells. The island of Tamana was one of these. Of 157 families on the island 100 had homes damaged and 60 were destroyed. Their wells were swamped with sea water and their gardens were destroyed. They needed help right away. The service center here in Tarawa jumped into action and put through a request to the Pacific Area HQ for emergency relief suplies. Several members living here, who are children of this island, stepped up to help on the committee. They helped us procure supplies from local merchants at cost and arranged for the shipping. I managed to be around for photo opps.
When the Church does humanitarian projects here, we try to have what is called a "handing off" ceremony to notice the event with interested parties then the PR people inform the media. This is the West Stake President Uakitera presenting the invoices and shipping manifest to the Tamana Member of Parliament. He happens to be a member of the church as well and was instrumental in working out some of the details. Sis Waldron and I are working on a subsequent project with him to provide some water catchment and retention tanks for them.
This is the Nakoroi (Pleasant Trip) which transported the goods to Tamana.
President Uakitera and I monitoring the loading of the rice.
Whoa!! Is that the last guy who tried to jump off from here?
I was aboard, taking pictures in the hold to verify our cargo.
Pictures of the goods being delivered to families on Tamana.
Some supplies were just left on the ground where the home was. They are trying to rebuild; some on their old site but most have moved inland (Such as there is, the island is only a couple hundred feet wide) to rebuild.
Some are under tarps. I'm sure the bales of clothing we sent will find good use.
More deliveries. Sis Waldron and I are going to try to work a project with the Member of Parliament (mentioned above) to get some tanks and catchment systems out to these folks so they have a little more permanent fresh water supply. Interestingly, this island has a legal restriction forbidding the LDS Church from sending missionaries out there. In spite of restrictions at home, a lot of their people seem to join the Church here in Tarawa; not the least of whom are the biggest retailer on the island, the Chief of Police, and their representative in Parliament.