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Fiji: UNICEF Pacific Cyclone Winston Humanitarian Situation Report #7

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Highlights

  • Category 5 Cyclone Winston, the strongest cyclone to ever hit Fiji and with some of the highest wind speeds at landfall ever recorded globally, severely affected around 40% of the population.

  • Around 19,000 people are living in 557 evacuation centres, including in 23 schools.

  • UNICEF supplies have provided safe drinking water for over 26,000 people and assisted over 6,000 students to return to school.

  • Recently arrived UNICEF supplies include health supplies to benefit over 45,000 people and teaching and learning supplies for 26,000 students.

UNICEF’s response with partners

US$ 525,422 of UNICEF emergency supplies arrived in Fiji over the last five days for distribution by the Government of Fiji to the most affected areas. On 7 March, US$ 423,469 of UNICEF health and education supplies arrived by airlift from Copenhagen, Denmark. On 4 March, US$ 101,953 of pre-positioned UNICEF education and WASH supplies arrived in Fiji by sea from Vanuatu. An additional US$ 23,129 of supplies is on route from the Solomon Islands. This is in addition to the US$ 369,849 of UNICEF supplies pre-positioned in Fiji that have already been provided to the Government of Fiji and distributed to the people in the most affected areas. 30,000 people in the most affected areas have been provided with supplies to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation, which were distributed by UNICEF, the Governments of Fiji, Australia, France and New Zealand, and the Latter-day Saints church. This includes hygiene supplies for 14,800 people provided by UNICEF. 6,000 students at 59 schools in Koro, Vanuabalavu, Ovalau, and the Lautoka and Ba areas have been provided with education supplies, including temporary learning spaces and learning materials.

The Australian Government has contributed AUD 1.5 million to UNICEF (US$ 1.08 million) including: AUD 1 million to support UNICEF to procure, store and distribute enough vaccines to service over 20,000 women and children, and provide repairs and replacements for essential cold-chain storage facilities; and AUD .5 million for WASH and education supplies. 12 emergency surge responders have been mobilised by UNICEF Pacific, including information management specialists working in government ministries to support cluster coordination.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

From 19 to 21 February, Tropical Cyclone Winston went straight through Fiji as a Category 5 system with sustained winds of 230 kmph, gusting up to 325 kmph. 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’.

Around 19,000 people are living in over 557 registered evacuation centres; the numbers are declining rapidly. The Eastern and Western Divisions have the highest numbers of evacuees while all evacuation centres in Central Division were closed in the first week of March.

Deployment of military assets and personnel from Australia, New Zealand and France is making a significant contribution, working together with the Government of Fiji. The Government of Fiji is coordinating support from other nations, the UN, NGOs and the private sector through their established coordination mechanisms. 243 primary and secondary schools (27%) have been damaged and 63 schools (7%) have been destroyed, disrupting schooling of more than 72,137 students (47% girls, 53% boys). Additionally, it is estimated that over half of the 481 early childhood care and education (ECCE) centres have been damaged or destroyed, affecting over 4,000 young children (aged 4 to 5 years). Cold chain facilities have been damaged or destroyed in 91 health facilities, with more than 60 facilities badly affected.