We’ve all been shocked to hear of the recent flooding in parts of Fiji.
The natural disaster has left many families devastated by the loss of life and loss of their livelihoods.
With more than 8,000 locals evacuated to emergency shelters, 2,000 Australians stranded and several people reported dead and missing, Fiji faces very tough times ahead.
The untold story is of the thousands of market vendors – 75 per cent of which are women and the sole providers in their families – who have lost their livelihoods, their place of work and their future earnings.
Widespread damage to the markets in Nadi, Ba, Lautoka and Rakiraki has already been reported. For many this is the second time in three months they have been hit by flooding.
Market vendors are reporting significant losses of produce, tables, mats and stools as well as critical storage facilities and essential waste management facilities like bins.
Even once the floods subside, the market places will be closed indefinitely due to the damage to structures, toilets, lack of potable water and drainage and waste issues.
The flooding experienced in January this year resulted in more than $10 million (AUD) in damage to infrastructure and more than $9 million (AUD) in impact to agriculture, including daily trade through the markets. The total damage bill is expected to continue to grow following the most recent flooding.
Women market vendors are extremely vulnerable – they now have no source of income or means to support their families.
UN Women Australia is calling on all our supporters to assist by donating to the UN Women Fiji Markets Recovery Project – and we need your help.
As part of the project, UN Women in partnership with UNDP and the ILO will provide 20 days of paid work for urban women traders in and around the marketplaces and will support rural women in agricultural recovery, facilitating the purchase of quick growing crops and seeds.
With your help women in Fiji can support their families in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone and help rebuild their livelihoods.
Having visited the marketplaces in Fiji and seen first-hand its impact on the local communities, there is no doubt that they form an integral part of the urban economy and often offer the only opportunity for women to work.
As Australians we all have a part to play. You can show your support by donating online now here.
Your generous donation will help women in Fiji rebuild their livelihoods and boost agricultural recovery:
- $50 will provide immediate emergency assistance to women who have lost their produce and market stalls;
- $140 will provide ‘cash for work’ for one woman in Nadi to support the reconstruction and clean-up efforts;
- $500 will provide ‘fast growing crop’ seeds for rural market vendors to begin replanting their crops;
- $6,500 enables UN Women to ensure that the needs of women market vendors are considered in post-disaster recovery planning; and
- $10,000 will support 50 women for 20 days to begin the clean-up and reconstruction of the marketplaces.
When women earn an income they invest most of it in their families and communities.
Your support will empower women in Fiji and improve the lives of those who rely on them.
We encourage everyone to make a donation – no matter how small – and help us support women in Fiji.
Julie McKay is the Executive Director of UN Women Australia.