Tropical Cyclone Winston - Feb 2016
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 & Response Plans
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While delivering his address, PM Bainimarama recalled his experience while visiting communities who were affected by the ferocity of Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.
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Natural disasters ranging from cyclones to floods, droughts and earthquakes frequently occur in the Pacific region. The pacific island countries (including Papua New Guinea, Fiji Islands, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, and Vanuatu) rank among the world's worst affected in terms of casualties and people impacted by disasters. Because of climate change, the region is witnessing intense fluctuations in weather patterns, such as changing temperatures and precipitation patterns, intense storms and rising sea levels.
30,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by tropical cyclone winston in 2016, representing the greatest loss to fiji’s housing stock by a single event.
About this report
Before Cyclone Winston struck Fiji in 2016, Leba Volau made sure her home was tied down: the food was packed away into plastic bags and containers, and the crops were uprooted then buried so the storm didn’t get to them first. Armed with a booming voice and a mobile phone, she warned her neighbours to get ready.
Read the full report on IRIN.
Ugo Gentilini, Sarah Laughton and Clare O’Brien
Ladies and Gentlemen
Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
Nothing is more important to us as climate-vulnerable nations than to have the means to adequately adapt to the frightening new era that is upon us - the extreme weather events, rising seas and changes to agriculture caused by climate change.
About a quarter of schools damaged by Cyclone Winston still need to be repaired nearly three years after the massive storm hit Fiji.
Read more on Radio New Zealand International
Linking humanitarian response and development is a key agenda driven by multiple factors across both humanitarian and development landscapes. It is also a topical issue in Fiji, a South Pacific Island nation which is exposed to natural hazards, particularly tropical cyclones. This research aims to learn from Fiji’s experience of Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.
Linking humanitarian response and development is an important agenda, with multiple drivers across both sectors’ landscapes. It is also a topical issue in Fiji, a country vulnerable to natural hazards. Our research aimed to learn from Fiji’s experience of response and recovery after Tropical Cyclone Winston hit in 2016; we found that the humanitarian response to the cyclone had no substantive influence on the longer-term governance and institutional arrangements for development.
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Over 400 school students at the Arya Kanya Pathshala School in Ba, in Fiji’s Western division, will now benefit from a new ablution block which includes new toilets, hand washing and shower facilities, following its opening in Ba today.
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