SAN DIEGO—AFT Holdings, Inc. announced yesterday that it is working within a group of companies to provide food supplies to the people of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, which was devastated by Tropical Cyclone Pam over the weekend.
AFT’s affiliated companies, including The Global Companies, South Pacific Tuna Corp. and Atlantic Natural Foods, LLC, which owns the Loma Linda brand, are committed to providing more than $100,000 in foodstuffs to Vanuatu residents. The company will organize its aid distribution through the government and private agencies that are coordinating relief efforts.
According to the BBC, an estimated 3,300 people are homeless and 11 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the storm. The World Food Program reports nearly 170,000 people have been affected.
AFT CEO James Douglas Hines, who was in Asia getting an update from the recent meetings held in Yap of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, said he feels compelled to act due to the companies’ unique, decades-long relationship with the Pacific Island people, as well as his first-hand experience with such storms as a Louisiana native.
Hines and his partners in the South Pacific Tuna Corp. are active participants in the current treaty negotiations between the United States and the Pacific Island Nations, which began March 19 in Auckland, New Zealand.
As reported by Atuna.com, there has been industry-wide frustration with the lack of resolve by the Fisheries officers to address the current financial situation currently being faced in fisheries throughout the region. The challenges could have long-term material impact on the viability to the island economies as well as continued pressure on conservation of its resources.
“I am disappointed, but hopeful that all stakeholders will not give up a dialogue that creates positive solutions to present at the upcoming minister’s meeting to enhance conservation efforts and improve economic conditions,” Hines said.
“More importantly,” Hines added, “as the devastation of Pam weighs heavily on our minds as treaty negations move forward, now is the time for all of us to put differences aside and reach out and provide assistance, nourishment and hope to the Vanuatu people in their time of need.” (AFT Holdings, Inc.)