By Mike Puia
THE government last night handed SBD$800,000 towards the Australia bush fire disaster.
Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, handed the support to the Australian High Commission to Solomon Islands, Dr. Lachlan Strahan during a cooperate dinner fundraising drive at Honiara Hotel last night.
The attendance to the drive was overwhelming. Those who attended represent the government, business community, civil society groups and non-governmental organizations.
Prime Minister Sogavare told the gathering that the drive is intended to support a country (Australia) that stood beside Solomon Islands during its darkest hours.
He said this country has witness the unfolding of the bush fire disaster in Australia and felt “devastatingly sad”.
The bush fire disaster in Australia has costed lives and destroyed over 2000 homes.
Prime Minister Sogavare said Australia always stand ready to help this country therefore it is a humane and correct thing to do to help Australia.
He said supporting Australia is not only reciprocating its help over the years but it’s about coming to the aid of a country and standing by its side in the face of challenging calamity.
The corporate dinner is part of a drive, which has the theme ‘iumi tugeda fo Australia, organized by a special committee that was setup by the government last Thursday
The committee is tasked to oversees, support and coordinate fundraising efforts towards the Australia bush fire disaster.
The committee is proposing to hold its second fundraising cooperate dinner next Tuesday.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the $800,000 handed to the Australian High Commissioner comes from the National Disaster Budgetary Support.
He said even though the support is small, the prayers and hearts that come with the support is what matters.
The PM appealed to all its citizens to help lend a hand and support Australia.
Many donations were made during the dinner which will increase the money handed by the Prime Minister.
The Solomon Islands Forest Association (SIFA), for instance, handed SBD$100,000.
Prime Minister Sogavare confirmed that he has written to the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, and conveyed this country’s thoughts and prayers to the people of Australia.
He said like Australia, countries in the region are prone to disaster which is why helping another country is a standing gesture in times of disaster.
The PM appealed to all countries in the region to stand with Australian people as Australia fight to recover from the disaster that sweep through the country.