This is the second OCHA Flash Update on Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston Cat 5 which is currently impacting on Fiji.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston Category 5 is now moving west close to Fiji’s northern islands of Taveui (pop 12,808) and Vanua Levu (pop 117,724) with devastating sustained wind speeds of 230kmph, gusting to more than 325kmph.
Overnight on 19-20 February, the Cyclone also impacted on the Northern Lau Islands (pop 10,683) in Fiji’s east as a Category 5 system and communications with these islands have since been lost.
The cyclone has tracked further north than expected over the past 24 hours and is forecast to pass between Vanua Levu and the country’s main island of Viti Levu (pop 650,00) overnight on 20 February before heading towards the Yasawa and Mamanuca tourist islands to the country’s west on Sunday 21 February.
While the current path now avoids a direct impact on the main cities, Suva (pop 100,000) is already starting to experience damaging gale force winds, heavy rain and power outages, while Nadi (52,000) is forecast to get destructive storm force winds over the coming days. Fiji Met Threat Map for TC Winston.
The heavy rain associated with the cyclone is initially expected to bring widespread flash flooding with river flooding to follow on Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.
Coastal inundation is also likely as storm surges push the sea inland several hundred metres, especially close to the centre of the cyclone.
It’s likely that power and water supplies will be interrupted over various parts of the country in the next 24-48 hours.
The Fiji National Disaster Management Office is leading the response and reports that all government emergency systems are activated including National and Divisional Emergency Operations Centres.
Evacuation centres are open and roads are being closed around the country, including Suva, as the cyclone passes.
The Fiji Government is leading the response and has not yet indicated that international assistance will be required.
UNOCHA Regional Office for the Pacific has offered Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) support to the Fiji National Disaster Management Office if required.
A PHT meeting was convened today, 20 February, and partners are on standby to respond if requested.
It has been agreed that OCHA will be the conduit for communications between the NDMO and humanitarian partners and any requests for international assistance should be channeled through OCHA.
Partners outside Fiji are also requested to liaise with OCHA regarding assistance rather than approaching the Government directly.
The next Flash Update will be issued on 21 February. For further information, please contact the OCHA Regional Office for the Pacific:
Sune Gudnitz, Head of Office firstname.lastname@example.org, +679 999 1664
Michael Arunga, Information Management Officer, email@example.com, +679 777 1877
Danielle Parry, Public Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org, +679 777 1433
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.