The Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Jenny Da Rin, has thanked the people of Vanuatu for expressions of solidarity and support following the devastating bushfires in Australia.
“I have been stopped in the street by ordinary people, saying much the same sorts of things, expressing shock and sadness at the pictures that are coming out of Australia and asking me, what can we do to help?
“That’s quite overwhelming to feel that connection to people and to think that people here are so concerned about what’s happening to us.
“It really is devastating,” the High Commissioner said.
In terms of the loss of life, she says these are communities that they know really well, that they personally spent time in, that they have holidayed at, that they have run around in as children.
She says to see people having to find shelter at the beach and be evacuated because it was not safe, is very distressing to everyone.
The High Commissioner expressed pride in the resilience of Australians to work together, including firefighters that a putting themselves in danger to save lives and properties.
She says some of the firefighters have lost their homes to the fire but they continue to assist others.
“It’s quite an extraordinary thing.
“I can’t tell you how touched we are by the gesture that Vanuatu has made.
“It’s not a small amount of money.
“It’s a significant amount of money and it’s going to go to a very important cause to support the rural fire services who actually have people out there fighting those fires, so it will be put into very good use,” Mrs Da RIn said.
The High Commissioner says she learnt of Vanuatu’s assistance on Sunday when she went to farewell the Prime Minister of Vanuatu as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps at the Port Vila International Airport.
It was then that Deputy Prime Minister informed her after he walked the Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, out to the plane.
Deputy PM Jotham Napat pulled her aside and said the government has decided to make a contribution to support the fire victims in Australia. Napat also told Da Rin that Vanuatu would keep Australia in its prayers.
The Prime Minister of Australia has since called Mr Napat to thank him for Vanuatu’s support.
Mrs Da Rin says she would also be attending the fundraiser organized by the Port Vila Rotary to make a donation.