Fiji: UNICEF Pacific Cyclone Winston Humanitarian Situation Report #4

Situation Report
Originally published



Category 5 Cyclone Winston was the strongest cyclone to 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.

  • 1,177 schools and early childhood education centres reopen today.

  • There are no indications of disease outbreaks to date. As a preventive measure, UNICEF has provided 30,000 doses of TetanusTyphoid (TT) vaccines to the MoHMS for use in the most affected areas.

  • Broadcasting of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on 11 radio stations with national reach, and in English, iTaukei and Hindi, 330 times per day at prime time.

  • Orders placed for one air and two sea shipments of emergency supplies.

UNICEF’s response with partners

One week after Cyclone Winston, UNCEF has taken the following actions:

  • 26,125 people in the most affected areas, (7.5% of the estimated population in these areas), have been provided with WASH supplies to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation. Supplies distributed by the Government were provided by UNICEF, the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, and the LDS church.

  • 2,115 students at 23 schools on Koro Island, Lautoka and Ba areas have been provided with education supplies, including temporary learning spaces and learning materials.

  • 30,000 doses of Tetanus-Typhoid (TT) vaccine have been provided to prevent the outbreak of disease.

  • UNICEF staff have been embedded into three Government Ministries and seven assessment and response missions to provide technical and coordination support.

  • Government Ministries have received technical assistance in assessment data analysis and response planning

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. Around 40% of the population lives within 50km of the centre of the Cyclone, the range defined by the Fiji Meteorological Service as experiencing ‘very destructive hurricane force winds’. Homes, public buildings and livelihoods were also damaged by sea water surges and river flooding. 42 deaths were confirmed.

Assessments showed that 240 school were damaged or destroyed and up to 103 schools were used (or are still being used) as evacuation centres. Around 39,500 people remain in 963 evacuation centres; many others are staying with relatives or other host families. 85% of primary and secondary schools re-opened today, despite significant damages to facilities. Information about ECE centres is unclear.

Damage to telecommunications networks, roads, bridges, airstrips and port facilities is constraining access of Government authorities in conducting assessments and emergency relief in remote areas and outlying islands. It is expected to take several months to restore basic services (water, power and sewerage) to the worst-affected areas. In addition to the damage to homes, schools and medical facilities, many people’s household items, food supplies and livelihoods (including agriculture, fisheries and tourism) will have been badly affected.

The most economically disadvantaged households are expected to be the worst affected. They are more likely to live in dwellings made from weaker materials in higher-risk areas (such as areas prone to flooding) and will have fewer safe water, food and financial reserves to draw upon in the coming days and weeks.