UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone Winston Recovery and Support
On Saturday 20th February 2016 Tropical Cyclone Winston reached Fiji with category 5 conditions. The Australia Fiji Business Council aims to give our members the most up to date information as it unfolds; we have compiled the following update from key sources.
— By AFBC
Tropical Cyclone Winston has left the shores of Fiji, moved west and weakened, the destruction to Fiji however, has been extensive and recovery efforts are now gathering momentum. It has been heartening to see the generous outpouring of support from many sources in the wake of TC Winston.
- 38 confirmed deaths – one of whom is a child. There are predications this figure will increase as communications are restored with cyclone-affected areas that have been out of contact since Saturday and unable to report.
- Approximately 8226 people have lost their homes and remain in 71 evacuation centres across the country
Major damage to:
- Essential services including hospitals, power (approximately 80% of the country), water and communications
- Schools (which are being used as evacuation centres)
- Roads – closures across the country due to fallen trees and power lines
- Townships, villages and informal settlements - with some communities being totally wiped out. Extensive flooding, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Rakiraki (the latter being totally inaccessible by road)
- Shelter and WASH facilities
- Access to main ports
- Possible heavy damage to Yasawa and Mamanuca based resorts in the West
The Australia Government has responded to the Government of Fiji’s request for assistance with the following.
- An initial $5 million package of assistance including support for the Australian Red Cross, the Fiji Red Cross Society, UN agencies including UNICEF and NGOs.
- Transportation of humanitarian supplies and personnel with an Australian Defence Force (ADF) C17 aircraft.
- The first of four ADF MRH90 helicopters arrived in Fiji on 23 February to provide relief to outlying islands.
- An Australian aeromedical evacuation team of six professionals has arrived in Fiji to provide urgent medical support
- Deployment of a Royal Australian Air Force P3-Orion surveillance aircraft to assist with surveillance efforts.
- Two Australian Civilian Corp specialists are working alongside Fijian colleagues in the National Disaster Management Office.
The key points from the latest statement from Hon PM Bainimarama on disaster relief efforts and financial appeal are as follows:
- Relief efforts are spreading out all over the country, identifying areas of need, providing Fijian people with relief supplies and assistance as quickly as possible.
- Almost no part of Fijian affected. Many rural and maritime areas bore the brunt of Winston’s fury.
- Power has been restored to some areas, but in others – including Western Division – damage to power network is extensive and repairs will take considerable time.
- International airlines have resumed service, as well as on major domestic routes. Our tourism industry has weathered this storm and the majority of our hotels and tourism services are fully operational.
- Repairs to our schools are underway
- Medical teams and assessment teams have been deployed throughout our islands to provide emergency health services, identify further needs and begin responding
- Ministry of Finance has met with the banking industry to develop assistance packages
There are several options for those wishing to donate to the recovery efforts. We encourage members to share this information with their networks.
We encourage our members to support the recovery efforts however they can and our thoughts are with those who have contacts, family or businesses that have been affected by TC Winston.
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