More than 4,000 family homes in Fiji’s Western division affected by Cyclone Winston

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So far a total of over 4,000 houses in Fiji’s Western Division have been either partially or completely destroyed between Ba and Ra province.

Shelter is among the priority needs for those in the Western Division.

This follows a recent field assessment conducted by the United Nations.

“Shelter is really a big problem. In many cases 80% of the houses if not more are just not standing. We need to be thinking very quickly about shelter solutions. It also raises the issues about the water and sanitation. I have to say also the vast destruction of the crops and the need for us to think about food security,” said Osnat Lubrani the Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations in Fiji.

Lubrani said at least a total of 1,900 houses in Ba and 2,600 in Ra have been either damaged or destroyed.

On-going damage assessment reports are revealing that shelter remains an immediate humanitarian priority.

The latest Cyclone Winston situation report from the Office of the Humanitarian Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as of the 07 March revealed the extent of housing damage. Ra province is reporting the highest so far with 2,600 houses destroyed. Ba is next with at least 1,900 houses destroyed.

The third highest is recorded for Cakaudrove province, with a total of 1,300 destroyed.

Lomaiviti group has 830 houses destroyed, Bua Province has 300, Lau Group 190 and Tailevu Province 170.

Shelter Cluster partners continue to provide immediate emergency shelter materials and on the ground technical support for safer construction techniques.

The report also highlights that the current level of houses damaged or destroyed is likely to increase, as more detailed assessments are being conducted.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS) received 75 tonnes of relief items valued at FJD$1.2 million (US$517,916) from its counterparts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The relief items included 1,215 tarpaulins, 1,350 shelter tool kits, 2,406 kitchen sets, family tents and jerry cans.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Asia-Pacific zone office in Kuala Lumpur sent the additional relief items to assist FRCS with its relief work to those who were affected by Cyclone Winston.

FRCS Director General, Filipe Nainoca said his office will focus on meeting the immediate needs of those identified as most vulnerable.

He said initial assessments had given the society a good idea of what the needs are on the ground.

“We will continue to distribute relief out to the communities affected by Cyclone Winston. So far, FRCS has reached a total number of 5,665 households with relief distribution,” he said.