AFBC NEWS : 26th Feb 2016

UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone Winston Recovery and Support

It has been almost a week since Cyclone Winston hit Fiji and the response from the Fijian Government, neighbouring AID donors such as Australia and New Zealand, NGO’s, businesses, community groups and the Fijian people has been swift and is to be commended.

— By AFBC

The Australia Fiji Business Council has compiled the following update from key sources.

  • On Saturday 20th February 2016 Tropical Cyclone Winston reached Fiji with category 5 conditions, winds reaching up to 300-330 km/h.
  • Cyclone Hit Viti Levu and proceeded Northwest. Worst affected areas include: Lau Group, Laucala Is, Taveuni, Koro , Savusavu, RakiRaki , Ba, Lautoka,  Nadi, Mamanucas and Yasawas.
  • Access to clean water is a prime concern. Aid workers are warning of the danger of dengue, and Zika outbreaks are compounding water and sanitation problems. 

Current reports are suggesting:

  • 42 confirmed deaths as at 24.02.16. Death toll expected to rise as contact is re-established.
  • Approximately 35,000 people have lost their homes and remain in 71 evacuation centres across the country, with numbers estimated to increase.
  • UNICEF Pacific estimates up to 120,000 children will be the worst affected in the aftermath
  • The full impact of the cyclone is still not clear as power and communications remain down across outlying islands constraining the ability to gather information.
  • Major damage to essential services including hospitals, power (approximately 80% of the country), water and communications.
  • All major hospitals are operational with restoration of power a priority for them.
  • Work has begun to repair damage to Schools (which are being used as evacuation centres). 40 schools have sustained major damage with the number rising, least affected schools will close for 1 week, worse affected schools will remain closed for 2 weeks.
  • There are some road closures across the country due to fallen trees and power lines.
  • Townships, villages and informal settlements are experiencing extensive flooding with some being completely wiped out.
  • Suva Port is operational although they have no power.
  • Lautoka wharf remains closed.
  • Nadi and Suva airports are open with flights returning to Fiji

An update on Australian Assistance and information:

  • 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. Australian supported relief has already reached many of the cyclone affected areas.
  • On 25.02.16 at 2300 the Royal Australian Navy's biggest ship, The HMAS Canberra departed for Fiji and is expected to arrive in Suva on the 1st of March. Supplied include: more than 50 tonnes of aid including water, food and medical supplies. 850 people from the army, navy and the air force as well as 96 vehicles and 3 helicopters are on board. This will enable them to get basic necessities and aid to the more remote affected areas.
  • Australia is working in close cooperation with New Zealand and France through our FRANZ trilateral disaster relief arrangement
  • Australia also working with the Pacific Island Forum as it consults members on how they can help Fiji as it identifies where it needs assistance. 
  • Tourists in Fiji: There are 1173 Australians registered with Smartraveller as being in Fiji but we expect that there are many more currently in the country. There are no reports of Australian casualties at this stage.

There are several options for those wishing to donate to the recovery efforts. We encourage members to share this information with their networks.

Fiji Red Cross

Australia Red Cross

UNICEF

Save the Children 

Oxfam 

Care Australia supporting Live and Learn

New Zealand Oxfam

New Zealand Red Cross

Other countries have come forward with relief support and monetary donations for Fiji.

  • The Indian Government has pledged over 2.1 million FJD as a cash grant
  • The Australian Government has provided $7.7 million FJD in humanitarian aid-in-kind.
  • The United States Government and the People’s Republic of China have each pledged $213,675 FJD through the Red Cross.
  • The French Government has provided one military aircraft and sent 40 engineers to assist with the provision of medical services and the transport of relief items. Confirmation of the monetary value of aid-in-kind has not been finalized.
  • The New Zealand Government has provided $424,000 FJD in humanitarian aid-in-kind along with four military helicopters, medical supplies and medical teams. The HMS Canterbury has also departed for Fiji to provide 40 military personnel to deliver relief assistance.
  • The Japanese Government has pledged $153,833 FJD in relief assistance. 
  • The Governments of French Polynesia and Tonga have both contributed food rations for affected Fijian communities.
  • The Government of Nauru has provided a cash grant of $153,833 FJD to the Fijian Government for relief efforts and recovery activities.
  • The Asian Development Bank has pledged 4.28 million FJD in response to a letter of request sent by the Fijian Government.

The Fijian Government appreciates the much-needed support given by the international community. The need of the Fijian people is great, and Fiji requires all the support that can be given to rebuild and fully recover from this tragedy. 

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