Aid Airlift to Cyclone Winston-shattered Fiji Begins

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Fiji - IOM is transporting a planeload of aid from its Global Administrative Centre in the Philippines to ease suffering for tens of thousands of Fijians displaced by the Pacific’s largest-ever storm, Cyclone Winston, which devastated the island nation late last month.

Some 75,000 people will receive shelter kits, tools, fixings, and solar lights in the first consignment, made possible by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

A flash appeal, launched by the Government of Fiji and UN this morning, is seeking a total of USD 38.6 million, with USD 4.1 million of that for IOM’s Emergency Shelter and Displacement Tracking response. Forty percent of the country has been affected by this tragedy.

The appeal comes 12 days after Tropical Cyclone Winston left a path of destruction across Fiji’s islands, destroying an estimated 24,000 houses, wiping out food crops and leaving over 40 people dead. Of the over 350,000 people impacted, thousands now literally have no roofs over their heads.

IOM Australia Chief of Mission and Advisor for the Pacific Joseph Appiah, currently in Suva, Fiji, noted: “It’s impossible to talk about getting back to normal life under [such] situations, until we have helped the people of Fiji address their basic needs, as we support the government-led response. The strong leadership shown by the government in declaring a 30-day state of national natural disaster immediately after the cyclone greatly enabled partners to mobilize effectively to bring humanitarian and life-saving support.”

Arieta Moceica, IOM’s head of office in Fiji, said the shelter supplies will make an immediate difference in the lives of vulnerable people.

“Women and girls are particularly vulnerable in the context of displacement, with the breakdown of social structures leaving them exposed to violence and exploitation,” she said. “IOM is offering its assistance by working through government-led clusters with national and international partners, including the deployment of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, which will be available to the National Disaster Management Office.”

Appiah stressed that IOM is working closely with various government agencies to bring immediate relief to affected populations. “We look forward to continuing our support during this time of lifesaving, healing and recovery,” he said.

In the coming weeks, as evacuees begin to return to their communities and rebuild homes, IOM will support the government’s efforts in partnering with development and donor partners, local and international non-government organisations to provide people with resilient reconstruction techniques. Build-Back Safer messaging will also help ensure that new homes will withstand future shocks.

For further information please contact Arieta Moceica at IOM Fiji. Tel: +679 9076 071, Email: