Fiji: Tropical Cyclone Winston Emergency Appeal Revision 2, n° MDRFJ001

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This revised Emergency Appeal seeks 4,421,455 Swiss francs (reduced from 7 million Swiss francs) to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS) to deliver assistance and support to 40,000 people (reduced from 50,000 people) for 15 months (increased from 12 months). The beneficiary population has reduced mainly due to changes in the sectors of shelter; health; water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH); Restoring Family Links (RFL) and National Society capacity building. The Appeal budget also includes 260,531 Swiss francs (increased from 177,216 Swiss francs) to support the IFRC’s role as convenor of the shelter cluster. With the revised budget, the appeal is at 98 per cent covered. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation, and will be adjusted based on further developments and more detailed assessments. Details are available in the Revised Plan of Action click here

The disaster and the Red Cross Red Crescent response to date

20-21 February 2016: Category five cyclone Winston makes landfall in Fiji on 20 February. Government declares a State of Emergency.

23 February: 317,459 Swiss francs allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support FRCS in meeting the immediate needs of 5,000 people.

29 February: IFRC launches an Emergency Appeal for 7 million Swiss francs to assist 38,500 people.

15 April: The death toll reaches 44 people with more than 32,000 houses damaged or destroyed.

20 April: IFRC issues a Revised Emergency Appeal for 7,093,143 Swiss francs to assist 50,000 people.

5 May: Fiji government launches Help for Homes (HfH) initiative, which provides financial assistance for homeowners to rebuild through access to tools and materials.

6-13 May: IFRC conducts a review of the Red Cross Red Crescent response to TC Winston in the relief phase.

3 August: A Fiji National Zika Virus Action Plan is endorsed by the Ministry of Health in recognition of the growing public health threat posed by the mosquito-borne virus.

14 December: IFRC issues Revised Emergency Appeal for 4,421,455 Swiss francs to assist 40,000 people.

The operational strategy

Between 20 and 21 February, Category 5 Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston swept through the Fiji Islands. The cyclone was one of the strongest ever to hit the South Pacific and left a trail of destruction in its wake. Over 350,000 people (40 per cent of the nation's population) were affected, across all four divisions of the country. Forty-four people were confirmed killed and 31,200 houses were damaged or destroyed. Water supply, power, health and educational services and infrastructure were significantly damaged. Farming and fishing communities were significantly impacted. At its peak, over 50,000 people took shelter in evacuation centres.

On 7 April, TC Zena struck Fiji, causing significant flooding in the Western Division, affecting communities still reeling from TC Winston. Three people were confirmed killed, essential services were damaged and more than 12,000 people took shelter in 244 evacuation centres.

Relief efforts were hampered by communication and access challenges considering that the affected area was geographically dispersed. FRCS extended the relief phase to three months, which was completed by the end of May. The appeal is being revised to ensure current funding coverage is prioritized towards activities focused on the needs of the hardest hit areas and most vulnerable communities.