Once again I find myself at the mercy of New Zealand TV. We only have three channels that come in with our rabbit ears here in Motuoapa, near Taupo, and none of them are delivering news. Since our Vodafone mobile broadband 3G internet connection is weak, and limited, I can’t watch videos, so no YouTube, CNN Live News or any other live video casts.
From what I’ve read the northern islands of Fiji were hit hard by category 4 cyclone Tomas last night and all communication from the islands is down. I’ve read that a hospital lost its roof, we can only pray for the people inside. Since the island gave plenty of warning and the emergency plans were solid I don’t think many people lost their lives during the storm, but the aftermath could have severe consequences.
It has already been reported that crops and fruit trees have been destroyed. Agriculture accounts for 18% of the Gross Domestic Product, sugar is one of the largest exports. It will be difficult for this nation of islands to deal with such a large loss of such a valuable part of its economy.
My husband and I hope to still travel to Fiji for our planned holiday in June, but I wonder how many other people will spend their holidays elsewhere. I remember visiting Cancun, Mexico after Hurricane Wilma devastated the country in 2006. We were amazed at how quickly they restored the resort areas to their former beauty. The work there went ten times as fast as the work in the United States. Every morning when I left the hotel I would see another project complete, a small gazebo in the garden, new flowers planted by the front gates, a path re-bricked. The Mexicans were determined to get the tourists back and it worked. When I first arrived in Cancun I had asked a cleaning lady how the beaches compared to before the storm, she said they were just as beautiful I didn’t believe it. I heard that the hospitality employees were instructed to say the beaches and hotels were even better than before the hurricane.
I can only hope that Fiji is able to pull off the same construction feat that Mexico did after Wilma. I can’t imagine how places such as Bibi’s Hideaway will be able to restore their lush gardens with numerous fruit trees. Bibi’s Hideaway is on Taveuni, a northern island located just below Vanua Levu. We chose this backpackers lodge for our vacation home because they boasted of picking all the fruit one could desire just outside your cottage. We reserved the honeymoon bure, which has recently been built with plenty of modern luxuries, and I only hope that the owners didn’t lose their investment in the storm.
I look forward to visiting Fiji again, no matter what level of damage has been inflicted on the beautiful islands. I hope to have a relaxing holiday, and I hope that my visit will positively contribute to their tourism economy. I’m sure the world-famous coral reefs will still be full of color and life. Please don’t cancel your trips to Fiji – they need your tourism dollars. =)