NRL supports UNICEF appeal in wake of Fiji devastation
The NRL has donated $50,000 to the UNICEF appeal for Fiji after the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, Cyclone Winston, tore through the region.
In addition to the donation, the NRL has pledged to continue to work with UNICEF and their rapid response network and is encouraging fans and communities to support the appeal and the people of Fiji as they start to rebuild.
Australian Rugby League Commission Chair John Grant said the Rugby League community has close ties with Fiji, with some of the game's finest and most popular players coming from Fiji.
"We work closely with the Fijian Rugby League authorities to develop and promote the game and you cannot help but be impressed by the warmth and talent of the Fijian people," said Grant.
"I know that the people of Fiji are resilient and they will rebuild and I am encouraging all our fans to get behind UNICEF’s appeal to assist with the recovery operations."
The local NRL Fiji office and staff thankfully survived the cyclone uninjured and have been helping out with recovery and clean up efforts on the island of Suva. The team are providing support to local schools and communities that have been affected by catastrophic circumstances.
NRL legend and community ambassador Petero Civoniceva, said he was praying for the people of Fiji and his homeland.
"Thousands of people have been displaced and families have been lost to this powerful storm," said Civoniceva.
"I am devastated for my people of Fiji and I know that as a game, we will do whatever we can to assist those affected as they go through this difficult time."
UNICEF Australia Chief Executive Adrian Graham said they were moving quickly to provide aid to the people of Fiji.
"UNICEF is urgently responding to the needs of children and their families in Fiji," said Graham.
"With whole villages having been wiped out, the needs are immense and our priority is to reach the most vulnerable.
"Most of the people who live in Fiji are affected in some way, including more than 120,000 children who need help to return to their normal lives. Our primary focus is providing water and sanitation kits, as well as education and health supplies.
"We thank the NRL and the Rugby League community for their support for the people of Fiji and we urge those who can to please donate now to the Fiji Appeal."
The NRL has consistently aided UNICEF in responding to the needs of children and communities in the Pacific region, with the Rugby League community having rallied around response efforts to Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in March 2015.
Donations to the UNICEF Fiji appeal can be made at unicef.org.au