CARE Australia is ready to respond to severe Tropical Cyclone Winston after the storm was upgraded to category five, triggering evacuations across Fiji’s main island Viti-Levu.
The storm, believed to be one of the largest in the country’s history, is packing winds of up to 220 kilometres per hour and is expected to cause flash flooding and landslides.
CARE Australia’s Pacific Gender Advisor Anna Cowley in Fiji, said: “Cyclone Winston has already caused widespread damage in Fiji’s Vanua Balavu island where it was powerful enough to rip the crowns from resilient coconut trees.
“Our biggest concern right now is for people living in poorly constructed housing in settlements around the capital Suva.
“These people are highly vulnerable and their homes offer very little protection from these hurricane-force winds.”
In Fiji, CARE is partnered with the non-government network Live and Learn to provide emergency response advice and support when disasters strike.
CARE Australia and its partner Live and Learn are on standby, ready to be deployed and support the Fiji Government if a major emergency response is required.
Earlier this week, Cyclone Winston caused severe damage to houses and crops in neighbouring Tonga. Initial reports indicated 70 to 80 per cent of crops were destroyed in the northern islands. Together with the Tongan branch of Live and Learn, CARE is supporting communities to replant crops.
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities.
To donate to CARE’s Global Emergency Fund, visit care.org.au/emergency or call 1800 DONATE (1800 020 046).
For interviews with Anna Cowley in Fiji contact CARE’s media unit on 0412 449 691