Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston was the strongest cyclone that has ever hit Fiji and had some of the highest wind speeds at landfall recorded globally. It struck the two main islands of Fiji and numerous smaller islands with around 40% of the population estimated to live within 50 kms of the eye of the Cyclone.
44 deaths have been confirmed, including three children, with numbers likely to rise.
67 schools have been destroyed or severely damaged, others are being used as evacuation centres. School has been cancelled nationally for 1 week.
Over 22,600 people are in 246 evacuation centres, with many more staying with relatives or in other non-official displacement sites.
UNICEF Pacific is initially appealing for USD 5 million through the Pacific Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 humanitarian appeal. This will be used for water, sanitation, hygiene, education, child protection, maternal and child health and nutrition, all according to Government’s priorities and requests.
UNICEF’s response with partners
UNICEF is providing an initial response using prepositioned supplies that have been requested by the Government of Fiji. Funding is needed to sustain and scale up this response. Within the first 24 hours of the request of the Government for assistance, UNICEF has taken the following actions.
3,000 people in the worst affected areas have been provided with WASH supplies to ensure safe drinking water.
995 students of eight schools in the Lau and Lomaiviti groups provided with education supplies, including temporary learning spaces and learning materials.
Hygiene kits for 7,920 people and water purification tabs for 1,066 household were donated to UNICEF the Australian Government as part of an Australian Defence Force (ADF) airlift.
Six Emergency health kits, to service a population of 1,000 people for 3 months, as well as tents and education supplies funded by the New Zealand Government have been provided for immediate distribution to worst affected outer islands
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
From 19 to 21 February, Tropical Cyclone Winston went straight through Fiji from west to east as a Category 5 system with sustained winds of 230 kmph, gusting up to 325 kmph. It struck the two largest and most populated islands affecting up to 90% of the population of Fiji to some degree. Around 40% of the population is estimated to live within 50km of the centre of the Cyclone, the range defined by the Fiji Meteorological Service as experiencing ‘very destructive hurricane force winds’. 36 deaths have been confirmed, six from Central Division, 13 from Western Division, 15 in the Eastern Division and two from the Northern Division. Not all villages have reported or been reached with any communication, particularly in the north where aerial images show that some villages have been completely destroyed. Communication with the worst affected areas is still not possible.
There are initial reports of serious damage and destruction of schools, clinics and two hospitals. 246 evacuation centres (including at least 46 schools) are currently accommodating 22,684 people and many others are staying with relatives or in unofficial shelters. Schools has been cancelled nationally this week, for two weeks in the worst affected areas.