IN October 1972, Hurricane Bebe ripped through Fiji leaving 13 people dead in her wake. This was – at the time – the greatest natural disaster to have been visited upon the country. Just two years after independence Bebe was the first hurricane to challenge the scant resources of a fledgling nation which could no longer rely upon the resources of the United Kingdom. It was a tremendous test on the people, the emergency services and the leadership of what was the Pacific’s newest democracy.
Fortunately, larger countries like the United States, Australia and New Zealand rushed to Fiji’s aid providing emergency supplies, helicopters and trucks as part of the massive relief effort. Today Fiji continues to owe an immense debt of gratitude to her friends who answered the call at a particularly critical time in the history of Fiji.
For without the help afforded by these larger nations and many of our smaller neighbours, the path to recovery would have been much more difficult. After Bebe came larger hurricanes and cyclones such as Lottie, Meli, Eric, Nigel, Joni and Kina. And then last year there was Winston – Category Five, the strongest in history to hit Fiji.
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