On 20 and 21 February Category 5 Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a path of destruction across Fiji. The Fiji Government estimates almost 350,000 people living in the cyclone’s path could have been affected (180,000 men and 170,000 women). The Fiji Government is leading the response to this emergency. The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) is coordinating efforts and has activated National and Divisional Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs). A 30-day State of Natural Disaster has been declared and will expire on March 21. At least 42 people have been confirmed dead. Some 56,000 people are currently sheltering in evacuation centres. (OCHA, 29 Feb 2016)
In Tonga, local media reported approximately 2,500 people inside evacuation centres, with 10 houses destroyed and another 200 damaged. (ECHO, 19 Feb 2016)
On 29 February, the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal seeking CHF 7 million on a preliminary basis to support the Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS) to deliver assistance and support to some 38,500 people for 12 months. (IFRC, 29 Feb 2016)
On 21 March, the Government of Fiji extended the State of Natural Disaster in the areas severely affected by the cyclone until 19 April. The Government has revised the number of houses damaged by the cyclone to 32,000, increasing the estimated number of people in need of shelter assistance to 150,000. (OCHA, 23 Mar 2016)
The number of people in evacuation centres has been significantly reduced from 54,000 on 3 March to 337 on 31 March. Of the 26 active evacuation centres, 20 are located on Ovalau in Lomaiviti Province. Several clusters have raised concerns about the required assistance reaching people who had left the centres. A total of 24,800 emergency shelter items have been distributed out of which 11,000 are tents, tarpaulins or shelter kits. However, significant gaps remain in the support to self-recovery phase with no core shelter interventions reported or planned, and only 500 households out of 7,500 targeted having received hardware materials, tools and fixing kits for shelter repairs. (OCHA, 31 Mar 2016)
The cyclone damaged at least 495 schools, 88 health facilities, disrupted basic public services and destroyed crops and livelihoods. According to the post-disaster needs assessment jointly prepared by the government and development partners, total damage and losses from Winston are estimated at $1.42 billion — equivalent to 31% of gross domestic product. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that it will provide a $50 million emergency assistance loan to the Government of Fiji for short-term financing of disaster recovery reconstruction programs, including school rehabilitation and housing assistance. (ADB, 30 Jun 2016).
Appeals & Funding
- Fiji: Tropical Cyclone Winston Response & Flash Appeal: Final Summary, 13 Jun 2016
- Fiji Flash Appeal: Tropical Cyclone Winston, Feb-May 2016
- IOM Flash appeal Fiji: Tropical Cyclone Winston, 8 Mar 2016
22 March 2017 – Over a year ago, on 20 February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston made a category 5 landfall along the north coast of Fiji's largest, most populous island, Viti Levu, killing at least 44 people, and grounding flights to and from the Pacific Island nation.
“It was one of the strongest cyclones to have hit any country in the Southern Hemisphere,” recalls Mr. Semi Koroilavesau, Fijian Minister for Fisheries. “That was quite catastrophic for Fiji and we are still recovering from it,” he adds, sombrely.
La mayoría de los desastres naturales son predecibles en cierta medida, por lo que resulta importante invertir en los planes de protección social del gobierno para fortalecer su capacidad de resiliencia a largo plazo
Lessons learned from Tropical Cyclone Winston
By UNOCHA ROAP
IN OCHA PACIFIC
IMPACT OF THE CYCLONE
Joint FAO-WFP support to Fiji Food Security & Livelihoods Cluster to complete Tropical Cyclone Winston Recovery Needs & Vulnerability Assessment
Cluster support, such as (training, workshops and remote support) activities and plans proposed for Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu
Joint WFP-UNDP-rPFSCsupport to Solomon Islands Rapid Sectoral Assessment and 72-hr assessment tool training for Makira earthquake response
Fiji's Sodelpa party leader has called on the Prime Minister to admit the failure of the government's Help for Homes initiative that was supposed to assist those hardest hit by last year's Cyclone Winston.
Read the full story on Radio New Zealand International.
By Lauren Hayes, IFRC
Only a few days before Tropical Cyclone Winston tore across Fiji, Seru Sevutia was sitting in a disaster preparedness and response training session.
He knew the training would be useful for his work as a Red Cross volunteer, but he didn’t think he would have to put it into practice so soon.
“The training was that week. On Saturday, Winston came,” he says.
Scraps of wood, broken bricks and sheets of corrugated iron are piled atop the foundations where family homes once stood.
Alumita, a mother of three girls, points to the spot in her former home where she huddled her children during the storm.
As the house was crumbling down around them, she used her own body to shelter her daughters. Heavy timber railings collapsed on her back causing injuries and pain that would burden her for weeks.
I will visit Fiji from 19 to 21 February on the first anniversary of Tropical Cyclone Winston, which hit Fiji on 20 February 2016 and resulted in the tragic death of 44 Fijians.
During my visit, I will attend a formal commemoration service in Suva.
I will visit the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) which, through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), is growing seedlings to help communities recover from Tropical Cyclone Winston.
Suva / Kuala Lumpur, 17 February, 2017 – One year after Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji, many survivors are still struggling to recover, says Fiji Red Cross. According to Red Cross Director General, Filipe Nainoca, significant progress has been made since the Category 5 cyclone hit on 20 February, 2016, but some people in the worst affected areas of the country are still living in tents or temporary shelters.
New Zealand Red Cross is helping students return to their classrooms in Fiji's Ra province.
The classrooms at Vunikavikaloa Arya School are filled with noise – but it’s not excited students causing the commotion. It’s Red Cross volunteers and local villagers, hard at work with hammers, saws and drills.
The school, in Fiji’s Ra province, was badly damaged when Tropical Cyclone Winston tore across the country in February 2016. For the past year, children at Vunikavikaloa have been learning in tents in a back field.
After watching waves wash away her house, Makarita is moving into a stronger, safer home – thanks to Red Cross.
From her perch on a pile of bricks, Makarita Racani watches a group of men hammer at the wooden skeleton of a house.
It’s not unusual to see Makarita sitting near the building site in the centre of Nukubalavu, a village on Fiji’s northern island of Vanua Levu. Since construction began a few weeks ago, the 79-year-old has kept a close eye on the builders, and with good reason - the house they are building is her new home.
by Kenn Crossley
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
As most natural disasters are predictable to some extent, it makes sense to invest into government social protection schemes to build their long-term resilience
The names of those who died in Cyclone Winston will be read out in a national ceremony in Fiji on Monday to mark Cyclone Winston's direct hit a year ago.
Read more on Radio New Zealand International
The New Zealand Defence Force has delivered more than three tonnes of textbooks to Fiji high schools, which were damaged by last year's category-five Cyclone Winston.
Read more on Radio New Zealand International
Coconut farmers in Fiji are being told to get rid of dead trees and decaying vegetation left behind after Cyclone Winston in order to stop the spread of pests.
Read more on Radio New Zealand International
As the Pacific braces itself for another cyclone season, UN Women is leading efforts to ensure that women and girls are at the centre of disaster preparedness, response and recovery work.
Date: 17 January 2017
By Seru Nasedra and Corinne Ambler
Remote Koro Island, to the east of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, was one of the worst-hit areas during Tropical Cyclone Winston almost a year ago. Most houses in every village were damaged, with only a handful left standing. Many of the islanders are still living in tents or temporary shelters while others have temporarily relocated to the mainland where other family members live.
Fiji Red Cross has spent the last few months working on Koro, which was hit by both winds and sea surge, resulting in the deaths of six people.