Kuridrani puts energy into cyclone relief effort

· Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Originally published on RUGBY.com.au

Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani is putting his isolation energies towards trying to help Fijians recover from the devastating effects of Tropical Cyclone Harold.

Vatulele, an island 32km south of Fiji's main island Viti Letu, was devastated by the cyclone earlier this month and its people are battling to recover.

The island has been described as a "war zone" by some former residents and the damage to houses and the locals' water tanks has seriously diminished their access to shelter and basic resourses.

The community is not far from where Kuridrani grew up and his father, Inosi, is a politician in the are as well, seeing firsthand the challenges peopleare facing.

All but a handful of houses were wiped out in the cyclone and in some cases multiple families are now living together in one house to try and keep sage.

"Most of the families have lost their houses and lost their source of food and everything has been really damaged as well," Kuridrani said.

"They're really struggling every day to find food and shelter and so we've taken a few food last week we've bought some food and we sent it to the island so they can spread it out - there's four villages there and just their source of food and houses have been really damaged."

The relief effort has been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While no cases have been recorded on the island, international and local travel restrictions means it is near impossible to send clothes and other donations across to the people affected.

Kuridrani said currently small boats with one or two people on board were delivering food to the island on a regular basis.

"It's very difficult at the moment with the coronavirus, I think there's only a few people that are allowed but there's only like maybe two or three people that's doing delivery every now and then from the main island to that small island.

"There hasn't been any positive tests from that island so it should be alright. It's not like a big group they're sending, it's only like two or three, they're just loading the boats up and they're sending across now and then."

With the practical barriers now in place, Kuridrani's focus has turned to raising money to help those in Fiji, calling for anyone who can to donate to a GoFundMe page set up by Inosi, for the relief effort.

Some of his friends and teammates, including Samu Kerevi and lock Cadeyrn Neville, have been among those contributing donations and the group has raised $9,778 towards its goal at the time of writing.

"We've just opened up a GoFund account at the moment to get cash donations for anyone who wants to support and donate and for now, because it's hard at the moment," he said.

"You can't send any cargo like clothes and anything right now because of the border so at the moment we're just trying to go with gofund cash and we send the cash across, it's much easier.

"Once the border and everything is opened up, then maybe we can take cargo and take kit or clothes or anyone that wants to donate whatever and put it into a container and send it back, ship it back."

This article was originally published on RUGBY.com.au.