A VOLUNTEER leader has been hailed a hero for saving the lives of young children when the deadliest storm in Fiji’s history rocked the nation.
Georgie Pick from Gopsort was working with education charity Think Pacific when cyclone Winston struck the archipelago last week.
Winds of up to 185mph lashed the small island of Koro, where the 23-year-old and her team of 16 young people, aged between 18 and 24, were staying.
Instead of seeking shelter from the storm, Georgie rallied her volunteers to rush to the aid of Fijian children swimming in the sea.
She helped drag them into cover and out of harm’s way.
Her heroics have since been praised by Simon Darker, the director of the UK-based charity she was with.
As a parent, knowing your child, however old, is living through a direct hit from the biggest cyclone ever recorded, then waiting 54 hours to hear if she has survived is the worst time possible.Jacki Pick, Georgie’s mother
‘Georgie’s actions were just remarkable, she is a hero,’ he told The News.
‘The storm hit so, so quickly. When the cyclone struck, Georgie and the leaders were pulling in children.
‘They went out to pull the children and get them back in from the sea.’
He added when the cyclone passed, the devastation was total, with only five of the village’s 50 homes left standing.
‘There are so many villages on the island where people died,’ he said. ‘But the village where Georgie was staying reported no deaths.
‘I’m sure that’s down to the courage of her and her team.’
Georgie was left stranded on the island for two days without food or means of communication before she was eventually flown back to the mainland of Fiji.
But during that time, her family had no idea about her fate and whether she had survived the storm.
Worried mum Jackie was forced to wait an agonising 54 hours before she was able to speak to her beloved girl.
Speaking to The News, Jackie said: ‘As a parent, knowing your child, however old, is living through a direct hit from the biggest cyclone ever recorded, then waiting 54 hours to hear if she has survived is the worst time possible.
‘The relief of hearing her voice after 75 hours of hell is indescribable.
‘But that is nothing to what the guys on Koro went through.’
Georgie joined the three-month mission on the island at the end of January.
At the moment, it’s not known whether she will continue to help or fly home.
A fundraising page has since been set up to raise £30,000 to help the villages levelled by the storm.
To donate, go to crowdfunding.justgiving.com/ThinkPacific