Tropical Cyclone Winston: Fiji Government and World Food Programme Joint Emergency Response — Lessons Learned Workshop Report, April 2017


WFP is exploring the use of existing systems to provide effective assistance to shock affected populations, including government social protection schemes and social safety nets, and their related targeting mechanisms, transfer modalities and delivery mechanisms. Leveraging these existing systems, WFP aims to develop or strengthen their shock-responsive capacities in order to increase the effectiveness, cost efficiency and timeliness of emergency response.

In February 2016, the Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji with sustained winds of up to 230 km/h. This was one of the most violent storms ever registered in the Southern Hemisphere with nearly 62 percent of the population affected and losses estimated at USD 1.38 billion (31 percent of GDP).

The Fiji National Disaster Management Office led the response with all national government-led clusters activated and support from the international community. The Government of Fiji requested support from WFP, part of which was provided for food security support through cash based transfers, for an assistance period of two months. WFP used the shock responsiveness capacity of the existing Fiji social safety nets to reach more than 72,000 people.

A workshop was organized in Suva to bring together stakeholders involved at different levels of the joint WFP and Government Emergency Response to TC Winston, to present achievements, opportunities and challenges of the response and to discuss opportunities to strengthen future responses to emergencies in Fiji.

Based on the workshop, this report reviews and captures the operational challenges and provides suggestions for improvement for future emergency response, to inform policy making and foster capacity to build and strengthen social safety nets with a shock responsive component.