Highlights of this operations update
This emergency appeal was last revised on 22 April 2016, increasing support to 50,000 people based on assessment information available at that time. Since then, further assessment information has highlighted the need for adjustments to the plan for recovery under this appeal, with priority sectors remaining shelter and settlements; health; water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH); and livelihoods. A further revision of this appeal is expected in August.
Between 20 and 21 February, Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston swept through the Fiji Islands as a Category 5 Storm with wind gusts up to 325 km/hr, and is estimated to be one of the most severe cyclones ever in the South Pacific. The Fiji government reported TC Winston had affected over 350,000 people (or some 40 per cent of the population) across all four of Fiji’s administrative divisions. On 7 April, TC Zena struck Fiji, causing significant flooding in the Western Division already affected by TC Winston, compounding the impact on houses, crops and livelihoods of communities.
As of 15 April 2016, government figures reported 44 people dead, and 32,000 houses damaged or destroyed. Water supply, power, health and educational services and infrastructure were significantly damaged as well as 229 schools, health centres and other public buildings. Farmers and fishing communities have been significantly impacted.
At the peak of the emergency, over 50,000 people were housed in more than 1,000 evacuation centres. As of July 2016, all evacuations centres are closed with the majority of evacuees beginning basic repairs on their damaged houses. In the worst-affected areas, some still live in tents or with host families while waiting for shelter assistance.
On 5 May, the Fiji government launched its Help for Homes (HfH) initiative, which provides financial assistance for homeowners to rebuild through access to tools and materials. Relocation is also being considered by several communities.
Health and hygiene remain a concern. The first case of Zika in Fiji was confirmed in March and as of 8 April, 15 others. On 1 April, the Ministry of Health endorsed the Fiji National Zika Virus Action Plan. Overall, health precautions are being taken, including a preventive campaign called the Fight the Bite which aims to reduce mosquito-borne diseases.
Red Cross and Red Crescent response
The Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS) has been conducting needs assessments and distributions of essential non-food relief items to people affected by TC Winston. Like most Pacific countries, Fiji has suffered the impact of El Niño, which has caused drought and water shortages for several months.
FRCS aims to serve up to 65,000 people (13,000 households) in response to TC Winston. This Emergency Appeal launched by IFRC in support of FRCS will serve 50,000 people (10,000 households) as part of the overall FRCS relief and recovery plan. This update includes planning for early recovery through longer-term planning for this operation.