Samoa and Fiji: Tropical Cyclone Evan - Information Bulletin No. 1
This bulletin is being issued for information only and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation.
*This bulletin contains information on the French territory of Wallis and Futuna
Tropical Cyclone Evan made landfall in Samoa on 13 December as a Category 2 cyclone and was stationary over Samoa for approximately 24 hours as it intensified into a Category 3 storm. The Government of Samoa has declared a State of Emergency for the next 30 days.
The National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) in Samoa was activated on the morning of 13 December to coordinate an emergency response. Samoan Police have confirmed four fatalities and eight people missing at this stage.
Apia, the capital of Samoa, experienced severe damage to a number of communities as a result of flash floods. Flooding was severe particularly in the low lying central business district. Numerous fallen trees obstructed roads and brought down power lines. There has been widespread damage including structural damage to outlying buildings and critical infrastructure.
Electricity had been cut off in large parts of the country, except for critical services such as the hospital, the NEOC and the meteorology centre, which were being powered by standby generators. The majority of Samoa's main island still has no running water or electricity, and utility workers are continuing their efforts to restore services. However, the central business district in Apia is now returning to normal with shops and businesses reopening and power lines being restored.
There has been extensive damage to crops such as bread fruit, taro and banana trees. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele said destruction of crops could cause food shortages next year.
Current assessments show that 1,059 houses have been damaged and an additional 421 houses completely destroyed. The Government of Samoa reports that the current number of people in evacuation centres (including churches) has risen to 7,739.
The Samoa Red Cross (SRCS), Ministry of Health, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), and Caritas are the main support agencies for the evacuation centres. Needs that are being addressed include clothing, food, clean water, sanitation facilities and temporary lights.
Wallis and Futuna
Cyclone Evan was upgraded to a Category 4 on 15 December, just as it passed on top of Wallis Island - part of the French territory of Wallis and Futuna. There were no reported deaths, although two people were injured. Wallis felt more of a direct impact than Futuna, with damage mostly sustained to roads and buildings. There were also damages reported to the airport, radio and television stations, warehouses and hospital. The government has restored electricity and water services and the hospital is now functioning. Approximately 250 families have been affected as their houses were damaged.
The French Red Cross immediately sent 250 tarps and 20 shelter kits. PIROPS is part of an assessment team with NDMO. The mission left New Caledonia for Wallis on 17 December in a military airplane. French Red Cross continues to work in close coordination with French state and the local authorities.
Tropical Cyclone Evan struck Fiji from 16-18 December as a Category 4 storm with winds of more than 240 kilometres. The cyclone passed over the Yasawa and Mamanuca Groups with the eye of the storm coming 28 kilometres from the western coastline of Viti Levu (the main island) near Lautoka and Nadi — two of the most populated cities in Fiji. The storm has since been downgraded to a Category 3 and is no longer a threat to Fiji.
Flooded rivers and downed trees have contributed to the destruction of infrastructure and power outages. Detailed information on impact is still forthcoming, but no deaths have been reported yet. The Government of Fiji had ordered evacuations of low lying areas, and there are now more than 8,400 people in 147 evacuation centres in the Northern, Eastern and Central Divisions. The number of evacuees in the Western Division is still being confirmed.
The Fiji Electric Authority is currently working to restore power, with outages reported in the Western, Northern and Central Divisions. Nadi International Airport remained closed yesterday but international and domestic flights have now resumed.
The Government of Fiji has just announced a Declaration of a State of Natural Disaster for the Northern and Western Divisions and it will be in effect for the next 15 days. This will allow authorities and stakeholders to speed up rehabilitation work in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Evan.