Emergency update: Tropical cyclone Winston approaches Fiji

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With Cyclone Winston bearing toward Fiji at category 5 intensity, Direct Relief has emergency medical supplies prepositioned on the island, ready to deploy.

A category 5 storm, Tropical Cyclone Winston is predicted to make landfall this weekend with winds higher than 150 mph. Winston could be the strongest storm in recorded history to hit Fiji’s capital and largest city, Suva — and by a wide margin. The strongest cyclone to hit the island did so over 30 years ago with 120 mph winds.

Earlier this week, on its way to Fiji, Winston passed Tonga’s island of Vava’u as a category 2 storm. It then took an unusual path, doubling back to strike the island a second time as a category 4 storm. Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office reports minor losses, with an estimated 200 homes damaged.

Direct Relief’s Response

Through its Hurricane Readiness Initiative, Direct Relief has prepositioned an emergency medical module with Fiji’s Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Services centre. The module contains enough supplies to treat 5,000 people for a month following a disaster. The life-saving materials in the modules include antibiotics, syringes, and medications to treat conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and severe allergic reactions.

In times of emergency, clinics and hospitals are often underequipped to handle the large influx of patients. The pre-positioning of supplies eliminates delivery delays and enables medical professionals to treat injured patients on-site when an emergency strikes.

In addition to prepositioned medical supplies, Direct Relief is preparing to ship four pallets of emergency medical resources to the Savusavu Community Foundation, a local Fijian health organization, and has offered additional assistance to several more organizations in the storm’s projected path.

Direct Relief will continue to monitor the situation closely as it develops over the next 48 hours.