I will visit Fiji from 19 to 21 February on the first anniversary of Tropical Cyclone Winston, which hit Fiji on 20 February 2016 and resulted in the tragic death of 44 Fijians.
During my visit, I will attend a formal commemoration service in Suva.
I will visit the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) which, through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), is growing seedlings to help communities recover from Tropical Cyclone Winston.
CePaCT plays a critical role for the Pacific in conserving and improving the genetic quality of key Pacific Crops. I will announce the establishment of a permanent ACIAR office at the Australian High Commission in Suva, along with funding for CePaCT of up to $250,000 to help strengthen its technical capacity and its long term viability.
I will also meet representatives of non-government organisations in Fiji who were instrumental in the distribution of Australian assistance after the cyclone.
Following the cyclone, Australia provided shelter, clean water, health care and temporary education facilities to over 200,000 people. An Australian medical team worked with Fijian doctors and nurses to treat over 1,700 people.
Australian Defence Force planes transported 520 tonnes of supplies and equipment to Fiji and the Australian Navy vessel, HMAS Canberra, was deployed to the islands of Koro and Taveuni to repair damaged infrastructure.
Through a $35 million package of assistance, Australia is continuing its work with the Fiji Government to repair and rebuild schools, health facilities and damaged markets, and restore water and sanitation services.
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