PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has expressed his sympathy to the Government and people of Australia following the calamities caused by bush-fires.
Speaking on Thursday at an event held to raise funds for the bush fire victims in Australia, he said Australia as a neighbour has been a friend to Solomon Islands in times of need.
“SI owes it to the kind hearts of Australians to be able to enjoy the freedom and unity it enjoys today,” Sogavare added.
He stressed that Australia is placed in a strategic location that can help to secure the security, peace and stability of the Pacific.
“SI and Pacific have a duty to help Australia in these times of need,” Sogavare said.
The Government, through Cabinet, agreed to set up a Committee that will undertake fundraisers over the next two months until 9 March.
The Government has allocated $800,000 towards the effort.
Meanwhile, Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan acknowledged and expressed appreciation for the message of sympathy Sogavare offered.
“The calamities are normal over millennia and they happen in Summer,” Strahan said.
“But the present one is different because it started in September and there’s still two months of summer to go,” he added.
The high commissioner said many people have lost properties, 2,800 have lost homes and millions of indigenous animals killed.
He further added that a lot of farmers were affected; some will never recover.
“At these times of need a shoulder to lean on is appreciated.”