Fiji: Cyclone Ami Appeal No. 03/03 Operations Update No. 1


Appeal No. 03/03; Operations Update no. 1/Interim Final Report Launched on for CHF for 3 months for 30,000 beneficiaries.

Appeal launched on 22 January 2003 for CHF 820,000 for 3 months for 30,000 beneficiaries. The relief operation was extended in order to complete rehabilitation activities including repairs of community water supplies and school infrastructure. Most activities have now been completed. The Final Report is expected September 2003. Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 80,000 (reimbursed) Period covered: January to June, 2003

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In Brief

Appeal coverage: 93.3%; See the attached Contributions List for details; also available on the Federation's website.

Outstanding needs: None

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: 2003 Pacific Regional programmes

Operational Summary: The appeal has met with an encouraging response, and most of the needs identified in the appeal have been met. Donors wishing to support this operation are encouraged to consider making a contribution towards the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). The attached financial report presents interim financial figures for this operation. The Final Report will reflect the full financial status of the operation.

Operational Developments

Less than six months after cyclone Ami struck Fiji, practically all of the intended relief and rehabilitation activities have been completed, and the operation is coming to an end. The Fiji Red Cross has provided effective emergency relief during the first phase, and has been recognised widely as a leading humanitarian relief organisation. It is also seen as an effective and reliable partner for disaster rehabilitation and recovery programmes and has been successful in securing further funding for follow-up activities in areas such as water and sanitation.


The Fiji Red Cross and the Federation maintained a close coordination with all key actors throughout the operation. During the first phase regular contact was maintained with the National Disaster Management Office, and local disaster management committees, as well as with key regional donors and other partners.

Branches received some local food donations in the first days, and these were distributed immediately, but the government then assumed responsibility for food distributions.

Red Cross activities in the fields of school repairs were closely coordinated with the Ministry of Education, which is undertaking an extensive rehabilitation programme using army engineers amongst others. Water and sanitation activities are being coordinated with the Ministry of Health and the Public Works Departments, as well as with the Ministry of Education.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

Objectives, activities and results

Relief distribution of food and basic non-food items

Objective: provide 30,000 people with basic essential non-food items:

The pre-positioning of disaster relief stock in strategic locations across the country allowed the Fiji Red Cross to carry out very swift distribution of essential items such as 'black packs' and blankets in the first few days after the cyclone. The fourteen white shipping containers each contain 250 'black packs' as well as other essential disaster relief items such as ropes, tarpaulins, gardening and construction tools, water containers, lamps, cooking sets and blankets.

The Fiji Red Cross Society's 'black packs' are an essential and well-received relief item. They contain items of clothing for a whole family, soap and detergent, a blanket, mosquito repellent and a basic first aid kit. They are called 'black packs' as the entire contents are wrapped in a large four by six metre sheet of heavy duty plastic, inserted in a heavy duty clear plastic bag and bound with plastic ties. They are slightly smaller than a normal pillow, are soft but resilient allowing them to be dropped, if required, from aircraft.

During the first phase of cyclone Ami, the Fiji Red Cross distributed a total of 1671 'black packs'. In addition it distributed other items such as blankets and tarpaulins, as well as in-kind donations received from bilateral donors. Only ten days after the disaster, the Fiji Red Cross had assisted over 60,000 people.

Re-stocking of the central warehouse and relief containers has now almost been completed, following tendering for all items. While most of the items were procured locally, a few items were ordered through the Federation's regional logistics unit in Panama (PADRU).

Water and sanitation

Objective: provide 30,000 people with clean potable water for a period of maximum 4 weeks.

During the first phase of the operation, the Fiji RED CROSS distributed jerry cans and water purification tablets provided by AusAid as an in-kind donation. It also provided a water purification unit for the supply of water to Labasa hospital. However, the public water supply in Labasa town was restored relatively quickly. It was therefore decided to focus water and sanitation activities for the second phase on the repair and rehabilitation of rural water supplies and sanitation infrastructure. Cyclone damage to village water supplies ranged from broken or washed away pipes, and damage to tanks and tap stands, to contamination of catchment areas or traditional shallow wells.

Following a detailed survey of priority project sites, and tendering for materials, work commenced in 26 locations. All projects were completed by the end of June. Systems have been repaired where possible, but in some cases there was a need to upgrade or replace them entirely. Further details can be found in the attached annex.

In addition to the projects carried out with support from the Federation, the Fiji RED CROSS secured bilateral funding from various donors to install water tanks in primary and secondary schools across the affected region. (see annex 3 and 4 for details).

Reconstruction and recovery

Objective: promote the repair & recovery of damaged schools and community infrastructure.

High winds caused extensive damage to the physical structure of the education sector in northern and eastern Fiji. According to the Ministry of Education, a total of 107 schools were affected. Damage ranged from small sections of roofing iron being blown away to whole classroom blocks being completely levelled to the ground. Following discussions it was agreed to focus on the repair of schools whose roofs were damaged or blown away entirely. This would allow students to resume classes as soon as possible, and life to get back to normal for parents, teachers and students alike.

After detailed work plans had been established, tendering for repairs was completed, and work commenced in a total of 16 schools (see annex for details). All activities were completed by the end of June.

National Society Capacity Building

Small office repairs have been carried out in the Fiji Red Cross Labasa branch building, and some basic equipment (computer, fax etc) was installed to facilitate the operation. One vehicle was made available to Savusavu branch to support the relief operation. A small HF radio network consisting of three base stations and mobile units is currently being installed to facilitate more reliable communication during any future disasters.

Two one day workshops were carried out at branch level in order to capture lessons learned from the first phase of the operation, and to provide input to future training and capacity building initiatives. A follow-up training workshop was organized at the national level, focusing on emergency management procedures. One branch board member attended a regional disaster management training course held by the Federation in Korea.

Federation Delegation

During the first phase of the operation an information delegate on loan from the New Zealand Red Cross supported the initial information and assessment efforts for one week. The Australian Red Cross provided a relief delegate to support the Fiji Red Cross in the distribution of in-kind relief items donated bilaterally by AusAID.

For the second recovery phase two delegates joined the regional delegation to provide technical support to the ongoing operation: a relief delegate provided by New Zealand Red Cross, and a water and sanitation delegate provided by the Australian Red Cross.

Advocacy/Public Information

The Fiji Red Cross has maintained a high profile throughout the period, and is generally seen as the leading humanitarian organisation providing response to the cyclone. It has featured regularly in the local media, and produced its own full-colour reports on the first phase. A number of donor visits took place during the operation, which provided good opportunities to further enhance awareness and visibility.

Outstanding needs

The appeal has met with an encouraging response, and most of the needs identified in the appeal have been met. Donors wishing to support this operation are encouraged to consider making a contribution towards the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

For further information please contact:

  • Fiji Red Cross Society, Alison Cupit (Director General), phone: + 67 9 331 4133, fax: + 67 9 330 3818, email: or
  • Regional Delegation, Leon Prop (Head of Delegation), phone: + 67 9 331 1855, fax; + 67 9 331 1406, email:
  • Regional Department Eunhee Cho, Regional Officer Pacific, phone: + 41 22 7304392; fax: + 41 22 733 03 95; email:

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

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