Fiji - One Year on from Cyclone Winston, many still in need as reconstruction efforts continue

Suva / Kuala Lumpur, 17 February, 2017 – One year after Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji, many survivors are still struggling to recover, says Fiji Red Cross. According to Red Cross Director General, Filipe Nainoca, significant progress has been made since the Category 5 cyclone hit on 20 February, 2016, but some people in the worst affected areas of the country are still living in tents or temporary shelters.

“More than 32,000 houses were damaged or destroyed and shelter remains the priority need,” says Mr Nainoca. “The shortage of builders and building materials is delaying people’s ability to repair or reconstruct their homes.”

In the past year, Fiji Red Cross has helped 77,000 people with emergency assistance and longer-term support to aid their recovery. The Red Cross operation has provided communities with clean water, emotional support to help people process the trauma of the emergency and its aftermath, as well as information on health risks. The Red Cross also rebuilt a school destroyed in the storm.

Together with partners of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Fiji Red Cross has also focused on helping people build back safer and stronger homes that are more resistant to future cyclones.

“Through our Build Back Safer programme we design and build demonstration houses that are built to withstand severe storms. We have also trained more than 60 local carpenters who have taken their skills back to their villages,” says Mr Nainoca.

“Our volunteers have been working side by side with local communities on projects that address their priorities. These range from protecting fresh water springs from contamination to repairing and installing toilets to improve sanitation,” says Mr Nainoca. ”Our aim has always been to meet people’s material as well as their emotional needs, ensuring that communities are more resilient to the impacts of future disasters.”

The Red Cross Cyclone Winston recovery operation will continue until the end of May 2017.

Notes: Video B-roll is available for download from the IFRC’s Multimedia Newsroom

For interviews and further information, please contact:

In Fiji:

  • Corinne Ambler, Communications Delegate, IFRC, Suva Mobile: +679 998 0166 Email: Twitter: @corinneambler

  • Mareta Tovata, Marketing and Events Manager, Fiji Red Cross Society, Suva Mobile: +679 936 1599 Email:

In Kuala Lumpur:

  • Patrick Fuller, communications manager, Asia Pacific, IFRC Mobile : +60 122 308 451 E-mail : Twitter : @pat_fuller

In Geneva

  • Matthew Cochrane, Manager Media and Advocacy, IFRC Mobile: +41 793 089 804 Email: Twitter: @mahatmat

For updates on Twitter follow @FijiRedCross @IFRCAsiaPacific Hashtags #TCWinston #CycloneWinston

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