Fijian and Sikh Volunteers Dropped Everything To Help Lismore During NSW Flood Crisis
"We all just want to make our country and families back home proud."
A group of recently arrived Fijian men have been praised after helping with evacuation efforts in the regional city of Lismore.
The 45 abattoir workers had only landed in Australia three weeks ago, but dropped everything to offer assistance as the devastating water levels made travelling to work in nearby Booyong and Casino impossible.
After a Facebook call out post, they ended up rescuing animals, assisting the State Emergency Service, and saving senior citizens from a local aged care facility by boat this week — often until the early hours of the morning.
— St Mary MacKiller (@StMaryMacKiller) March 1, 2022
“Some were calling out for help on their rooftops,” said Josua Tawakedrau to Pacific Beat radio. “The water level was rising, but the only thing that we can do — we cannot […] come from the doorway — the only thing we can go through was the glass.
“So the boys break the glass, they went in for the elderly people yes, they just went in and they got out all of the elderly people in the old peoples’ home — 60 of them,” he said.
Another Fijian worker, Semi Sailosi Lutua, told ABC News that the selfless group have been helping set up beds and serving food in an evacuation centre as well.
“I want to do my part and we all just want to make our country and families back home proud,” he said. “Families that have lost everything were so thankful. They said, ‘Thank you that you even thought of us.'”
The Fijian fullas helping out in Lismore are awesome. But reading about them on Facebook they’re also a reminder that black people need to go above and beyond in this country to be accepted and valued by white people
— Blak ole son (@BundjalungBud) March 2, 2022
At the same time, Sikh volunteers drove over 30 hours in treacherous conditions from Melbourne to help the community of Lismore and coastal town Woolgoolga to serve food to the community there too. “We are just four [people] but once the operation is being fully set up, we will call more volunteers from Melbourne,” said Jaswinder Singh to SBS.
Food preparation in progress for flood affected areas pic.twitter.com/yu8Gwme4UV
— Sikh Volunteers Australia (@AustraliaSikh) March 2, 2022