Australia has replenished much needed emergency supplies and restored access to essential services in Fiji after devastating floods which affected more than 319,000 people in low-lying areas of Nadi, Lautoka and Ba on 21 January 2012. On 25 January, the Fiji interim government declared a state of natural disaster for parts of the Western Division.
11 people died and thousands were evacuated from their homes. Two health facilities, 17 schools and many farms were heavily damaged. An estimated 55 per cent of export crops were destroyed. Fiji officials estimated the damage bill at around $16.5 million (F$30.6 million).
Australia provided $270,000 (F$500,000) in immediate financial assistance to the Red Cross on 26 January to assess damage and replenish essential water, medicine, clothing and shelter which were provided to affected families. Australia went on to make a further contribution of up to $870,000 (F$1.8 million) to support:
- replenishment of emergency supplies for immediate education, health and hygiene needs through UNICEF and the World Health Organisation ($240,000)
- repairs to 14 schools and two health facilities, a media awareness campaign on avoiding communicable diseases like typhoid, and school fees to enable 1500 students in the worst affected areas to return to school ($530,000)
- assistance to farmers including seedlings to rehabilitate export crops and drainage improvements to prevent future crop damage ($100,000). 'With extensive damage to the health, education and agriculture sectors, and wide distribution of emergency supplies to affected communities, this additional funding will make a solid contribution to the reconstruction efforts in Fiji,' said Ms Judith Robinson, Australia's Acting High Commissioner. 'It will make a difference to the lives of those affected by the floods'.
Australia's additional assistance will:
- help more than 4,400 students and teachers return to schools
- assist 30 farmers to restore production for export and improve drainage to protect their crops from future flooding
- restore access to health services for more than 3,000 people in the Western Division.
This brings Australia's total contribution to $1.14 million (F$2.3 million) to help the people of Fiji recover from the devastation of the January 2012 floods.