An AmeriCares emergency response team is on the ground in Fiji to help with the recovery from Cyclone Winston. The Category 5 storm – the strongest on record in the Southern Hemisphere – made landfall Saturday evening local time, leaving a path of destruction including flattened homes and downed power lines. At least 29 people are confirmed dead, hundreds of homes are damaged or destroyed, and many areas have lost power, water, and communications. Fiji’s government has declared a month-long state of natural disaster to recover from the catastrophic cyclone.
“The full extent of the damage is still unknown, but given the severity of the storm we are very concerned about the health and safety of survivors,” said AmeriCares Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia. “We have a team on the way and aid shipments ready to go.”
AmeriCares stocks emergency medicines and relief supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis. For Fiji, AmeriCares has 5,000 pounds of medical and relief supplies prepared and ready to be shipped.
Two major hospitals in Fiji have reported damage, including a hospital in the capital city where labor and delivery rooms, the intensive care unit and an operating room were flooded. Part of the roof of another hospital was blown off, forcing patients to be relocated, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty around the world for more than 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope. AmeriCares also brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities and launches long-term recovery programs after major emergencies that restore health services and strengthen health systems.