One of the handwashing stations provided by ADRA
Sydney, Australia | Maryellen Fairfax

With natural disasters and COVID-19 negatively impacting countries across the South Pacific extensively this year, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) offices throughout the South Pacific have been working hard to provide support to communities in need.

According to the most recent report released on August 16, ADRA offices in the South Pacific have supported nearly 125,000 people through 49 projects, at a value of AU $2.6M (US $1.9M) specifically to address the COVID-19 crisis. This isn’t including the numerous other projects still operating at this time.

In Papua New Guinea and Samoa, as well as Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu—three countries that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold in April—ADRA is implementing 23 projects focusing on cash assistance, COVID prevention, hygiene improvement, and shelter repair and building. This support will reach more than 108,000 people in the Pacific Islands.

Specifically in Fiji, COVID has been labeled the “job-killer of the century,” with travel restrictions destroying up to 65 percent of the country’s industry, which is tourism-related. This economic crisis follows devastation from Cyclone Harold, leaving the country largely dependent on external support. In response, ADRA is implementing four projects that focus on providing cash assistance, improving livelihoods, health and hygiene awareness, and providing food and psychosocial support.

Joseva Seru Sema from Namalata Village, Fiji, received FJ $160 (US $75.50) from ADRA Fiji through the generous funding of the UNDP, DFAT, and ADRA International.

“I woke up this morning and prayed to God that there would be sustenance and provisions for my family, but I was not expecting that by evening my prayers would be answered,” Sema says. “Our roof has been blown off, and this money will enable us to buy some corrugated iron sheets so we can repair our home.”

ADRA New Zealand has also supported more than 4,000 people in New Zealand by identifying families who need food vouchers and mobile phones through their “Love Thy Neighbour” project, and ADRA Australia supported more than 10,000 people in Australia with food parcels, takeaway meals and phone counseling—especially migrant families and international students who are not able to access government support.

“The dedication and commitment of not only the ADRA staff but the many volunteers who support our responses, never ceases to inspire and amaze me,” says Greg Young, director of ADRA South Pacific. “Your prayers for them are greatly appreciated as they work on the front lines during these challenging times.”

If you would like to support ADRA’s work in the South Pacific, please visit ADRA Australia and ADRA NZ websites.