Monday, May 16, 2016
Disaster Recovery Fleet Departs New Zealand Enroute to Vanuabalavu, Fiji
Twenty-one vessels departed from New Zealand this week as part of the Sea Mercy Recovery Fleet bringing aid to the remote islands most affected by TC Winston. Follow their passage on the Yachts In Transit website.
The response from the cruising community has been tremendous with over 40 vessels in all volunteering to assist us in our Sea Bridge for Fiji program. Sea Mercy vessels have been in the forefront of the recovery effort from Day One and more vessels are volunteering every day. In New Zealand, we are tremendously grateful for the support we are receiving from The Island Cruising Association, Gulf Harbour Radio, Northland Radio and Bob "MetBob" McDavit (fleet weather routing service). We also look forward to support from The World ARC Fleet arriving in Fiji next month.
The captains of our recovery fleet have very generously volunteered their vessels, crew, time, energy and resources for the next several months to help Fiji recover from the devastation caused by TC Winston in February. The fleet has been preparing their vessels, provisioning and loading supplies and donations while they wait for the weather to clear. They departed from Opua, New Zealand on Saturday, May 14th to sail north to Vanua Balavu, Fiji. The passage will take approximately 10-12 days and the crews are all very anxious to get to Fiji and begin the recovery work there.
In Fiji, they will join the initial fleet and volunteers who have been working tirelessly in Fiji since TC Winston made landfall. In addition, vessels from Tahiti, the Marshall Islands and Panama are already on their way to join the fleet, with more vessels arriving from Tonga in June and July. You can keep up with our latest projects and stories from our fleet by visiting our Sea Mercy Updates blog where you will also find links to the blogs of several of our boats and additional ways you can provide assistance to our efforts.
Sea Mercy’s role in Fiji’s recovery process is very aggressive, yet constantly changing to meet the needs of many groups working in the remote islands before the return of the next cyclone season. Tracey Collins, Projects Director in our Sea Mercy Fiji office reports “There are many NGO’s out there with available funds but without projects, or available volunteers but without transportation to get them to the outer islands. We have a huge list of projects and vessels for transportation, we just need to start working together.” Sea Mercy’s Sea Bridge for Fiji Program is designed to do exactly that!
Sea Mercy is very grateful for the passion and zeal of the cruising community in their support of our recovery efforts in Fiji. Thank you to all our volunteers and, after reading about their adventures on our blog, Facebook page or website, you feel inspired to volunteer – please visit the Sea Mercy Sea Bridge for Fiji page to see how you too can contribute to the recovery of the remote islands in Fiji.