India has rushed financial and material aid to Fiji that was devastated by the biggest cyclone in recorded history this weekend, a senior official said on Thursday.
Tropical Cyclone Winston, a category 5 cyclone, hit the Pacific Ocean island nation on February 20, claiming 44 lives.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote to her Fijian counterpart Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to express her condolences, ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said adding that India had extended 1 million dollars as immediate assistance.
“In addition, today (Thursday) a C-17 Globemaster aircraft has left for Fiji with 45 tonnes of relief material, which includes food products such as noodles, biscuits, milk powder, rice pulses, flour and salt, as well as 5.43 tonnes of medicines and 300 tents and kitchen sets,” Swarup said at a media briefing here.
People of Indian origin account for 44 percent of Fiji’s population. Most are descendants of Indians who went in the 18th and 19th centuries to work as indentured labour in sugar cane plantations in the island nation.