Fiji: Tropical Cyclone Winston; Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) - DREF Operation n° MDRFJ001

Situation Report
Originally published


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Tropical Cyclone Winston made landfall on 20 February, with wind gusts of up to 325 km/h, as estimated by The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. As of 9am (GMT +12) on 22 February Tropical Cyclone Winston’s centre ([930HPA] Category 5) was located at approximately 17.4 south 175.3 east, about 175km west of Viwa and 230km west of Nadi.

The cyclone is moving west at about 22km per hour. At its centre the cyclone is estimated to have wind speeds of 250km per hour, with momentary gusts of 285km per hour. The Government of Fiji has declared a state of emergency at 1pm on Saturday, 20 February, which will remain in place for 30 days.

The Fiji's National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) had urged people to secure their homes, properties, businesses or livestock as Tropical Cyclone Winston approached the country. Both the Nadi Weather Office and disaster officials are closely tracking the movement of the cyclone.
A total of 80 evacuation centres were activated across the country and some 6,000 people have sought shelter in these centres. Schools and markets have been closed, government hospitals are on standby, and electricity and water supply is still affected in some parts of the country. The death toll has risen to 18 as authorities on Monday began to get a grasp on the scale of the disaster and deploy aid to hard-hit outer islands.

Heavy rains and wind persist hampering the initial damage assessments. The government undertook an aerial survey of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu in the afternoon of 21 February. A separate assessment will be undertaken tomorrow of the Yasawa Islands, which is still experiencing the effects of the cyclone.

Summary of the current response

Overview of Host National Society

In preparation for the cyclone making landfall in Fiji, an emergency meeting was called and attended by the Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other incountry Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners. FRCS has released its own funds in order to support preparedness and response.

The FRCS Headquarters (HQ) has been in close contact with all division coordinators, as well as all 15 branches, providing them with situation updates. All FRCS branches are on standby, however there are no volunteers in the Lau Island group. In the northern division, FRCS volunteers are supporting the local authorities in the emergency centres.
On 20 February, as TC Winston made landfall, FRCS volunteers assisted 151 people to evacuate their houses and move to evacuation shelters, where first aid was administered by FRCS as required.

An Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been set up in the FRCS HQ with teams on standby rotating in 12-hour shifts. The National Society’s contingency and disaster management plans have been activated. Emergency Response Team (ERT) members, equipment and vehicles are on stand-by and disaster preparedness stocks are ready to be dispatched as soon as needed.

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country

National Societies in the Pacific, along with the IFRC Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) in Suva and Partner National Societies, have been on high alert since this Tropical Cyclone was sighted and meteorological projections indicated its imminent impact in Fiji. The IFRC Suva CCST organized several teleconferences for concerned partners, to better coordinate the preparedness for response. The IFRC CCST continues to closely liaise with FRCS, providing support for information management (including preparation of situation reports) and international relations management.

A coordination teleconference call has been organized on 20 February between the IFRC CCST in Suva, the Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur and the Pacific National Societies (Australian Red Cross, Fiji Red Cross Society, New Zealand Red Cross, and Tonga Red Cross Society). The IFRC Suva CCST activated its business continuity plan prior to TC Winston making landfall. The available stock reports from Pacific National Societies have been shared and analyzed to prepare for potential dispatch of NFIs to affected island communities. Meanwhile, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is supporting in setting up the system for Restoring Family Links (RFL).