The Sea Rakino, a ship out of Suva, was due to arrive late this morning at Naitauba. It has a huge relief shipment consisting of over 300 boxes, roofing iron, timber and so forth.
Also, Amy McCarrell, a devotee of Adi Da Samraj who is living on the island of Taveuni and who was helping local Fijian farmers find markets for their produce before the cyclone hit, has been instrumental in lining up a charter boat for Monday, taking a shipment of food that has been held up in a local resort there from the week before the cyclone. It will be carrying 300 kg of organic water melon, papayas, bananas, tomatoes, trunks of clothing, blankets, and dish soap. Amy says that the people on Taveuni have been very helpful. She said the freezers at a local Taveuni resort are filled with food for Naitauba. She mentioned that the people she’s working with have gone out of their way to help Naitauba and that the help and support has been wonderful.
We learned today that the Sea Rakino will most likely do another trip to Northern Lau in the week after the coming one, with the expectation that they will continue to do additional frequent trips for as long is necessary. That is a huge boost not only for Naitauba, but for other islands in Northern Lau who are in great need. Also we heard that Red Bull, who owns the island of Laucala, sent a barge from Suva today with emergency supplies for Laucala, the island of Yacata, and Naitauba. This is very good news.
Before we speak more about Naitauba, we felt that yesterday's article from the New Zealand Herald really captured the plight of so many people in Fiji whose lives have been totally destroyed by this monster of a storm:
Naitauba is still without regular telephone or internet connection. We did speak to them today via satellite phone and got the latest update:
Road crews worked very intensively for the last 7 days to clear the two miles of road from the main devotee village of Qaravi to the Matrix, on the eastern side of the island, and broke through today. This will allow many more people to go there and help clean up the devastation. As previously mentioned, the Matrix is a complex of temples. It is also the place where Adi Da Samraj would sit in meditation with His devotees. It is a sacred place deeply treasured in Adidam. A fuller picture of what happened there during the cyclone is emerging. There was not just a single storm surge. The entire complex was inundated with many feet of ocean water for several hours in the midst of the fierce winds. It was described as water churning around the buildings like a gigantic washing machine, smashing into the buildings despite the storm shutters and bringing a huge amount of debris with them. There is a vast amount of clean-up and repairs that will be necessary at this sacred place. The task of removing debris is enormous. Men and women volunteers to come and help with the clean-up are most welcome.
Running water has been partially restored, enough for the main kitchen and toilets. No showers yet. That will take another few days.
Power has only been partly restored.
Here is some damage that was not previously reported:
The main wharf where the Adi Da Samrajashram sign is located lost 6-7 feet of its end, a huge concrete and steel structure just sheared off by the force of the winds.
The small temple at the wharf, where retreatants first encounter Adi Da's spiritual blessing upon arriving at the island, was very badly damaged, while the roof of the residential building at the wharf was blown away.
Aerial photograph of the wharf that that lost 6-7 feet at the end, a huge concrete and steel structure just sheared off by the force of the winds. The photo was published by the Fijian government February 24th, 2016.
As with the Matrix, the facilities at beach level at Lion's Lap were invaded by 4-5 feet of water and suffered a lot of damage. However, the facilities higher up did fine in the storm. The road to Lion's Lap will take another week or so to open up. Only access currently is by small outboard powered boats through the lagoon.
We were told again today how much the residents of Naitauba feel the support and help and care and love of people around the world. It is a tremendous boost for their morale in the midst of such an immensely challenging situation.