Vanuatu bares its big heart for Australians

GUEST OF HONOUR: Sandra Hobbs, with Valerie Byrne, attended the Flood Relief Banquet. cont

THE plight of Emerald flood victims has reached far and wide and touched the hearts of people in Vanuatu.

To show their support and help for Australians, they held a Flood Relief Banquet and Auction at the Chinese Club in Port Vila, Vanuatu, which was attended by Sandra Hobbs, general manager of Central Highlands Development Corporation.

The banquet was held on Saturday with more than 290 people attending the dinner.

“I couldn’t believe how many people supported it, a lot of the people who attended could associate with family and friends who had been affected somewhere in Queensland,” Sandra said.

“The Australian people have received an incredible level of support, interest and commitment from the expatriates and the Chinese Club. Emerald was one of the many towns and communities in Queensland to be impacted by the recent flooding events.

“It was wonderful to be invited to the dinner and experience the generosity of the people in Vanuatu, who organised this fundraising event to help their Australian neighbours.”

Sandra said that having someone there to receive their donation made it more personal and they could relate and talk to someone about it.

She said the dinner and auction raised about 4.5 million vatu, which converts to A$50,000.

“This money will be split between the Emerald Flood Appeal and the Queensland Premier’s Flood Appeal, and will directly benefit those people whose homes and businesses have been flooded,” Sandra said.

“These funds will also be used to purchase household items for people whose possessions have been destroyed.

“This will boost economic recovery for our local businesses.

“Money was raised through the selling of tickets, donations, raffle tickets for minor prizes and a charity auction.

“The total raised on the night was 4.5 million vatu but the final figure hasn’t yet been finalised.

“We are very fortunate to receive such a response in our time of need.

“It’s just amazing the level of support.

“People were battling each other in the auction, it was more about the donation than the prize, which highlighted the support for Australia.”

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