Cyclone Winston, Fiji: UNICEF eyewitness report

 

Cyclone Winston, Fiji: UNICEF eyewitness report

On 21 February 2016, scenes of Tropical Cyclone Winston's destruction in Tamavua, Suva, Fiji. Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston made landfall in Fiji on Saturday (20 Feb), continuing its path of destruction into Sunday.  A state of natural disaster and a nationwide curfew had been declared by the Government of Fiji earlier in the evening. Flights in and out of Fiji were also cancelled due to the extreme weather. Power lines are down and communications are limited but UNICEF Pacific Communications Specialist and New Zealander, Alice Clements, has said from her Suva base, "We certainly felt the impact of TC Winston in Suva with destructive, howling winds and the sound of rivets lifting from roofs a constant throughout the night.   We can't say for sure yet how the rest of the country fared but rapid assessments will be undertaken by the Fiji Government to determine the full impact and what response will be required.   It is likely that smaller villages across Fiji will have suffered the most, given their infrastructures would be too weak to withstand the power of a category 5 cyclone. Families may have lost their homes and crops therefore leaving them without shelter, food and a livelihood. Those families will have lost everything. There is also considerable risk for those that live by the sea or rivers as flash flooding and river flooding could occur due to heavy rains. The reiteration of preparedness messages from all sectors of society certainly ensured people were informed and as prepared as they could be.Ó UNICEF is a member of the Pacific Humanitarian Team and will be on standby to provide emergency supplies and additional personnel, if required.  UNICEF has prepositioned supplies in Suva and Nadi including water kits, health kits and education materials such as school tents.  If called on to assist, UNICEF will actively support the Fiji Government in leading clusters of agencies working in water and sanitation, education and nutrition, and in child protectio

© UNICEF/UN010615/Clements – Scenes of Tropical Cyclone Winston’s destruction in Tamavua, Suva, Fiji.

 

NEW YORK/ HONG KONG, 20 February, 2016 – Alice Clements from UNICEF Pacific is in Suva, Fiji and experienced Cyclone Winston.

“We certainly felt the impact of Tropical Cyclone Winston in Suva with destructive, howling winds and the sound of rivets lifting from roofs a constant throughout the night. We can’t say for sure yet how the rest of the country fared but rapid assessments will be undertaken by the Fiji Government to determine the full impact and what response will be required. It is likely that smaller villages across Fiji will have suffered the most, given their infrastructures would be too weak to withstand the power of a category 5 cyclone. Families may have lost their homes and crops therefore leaving them without shelter, food and a livelihood. There is also considerable risk for those that live by the sea or rivers as flash flooding and river flooding could occur due to heavy rains.”

UNICEF is a member of the Pacific Humanitarian Team and will be on standby to provide emergency supplies and additional personnel, if required. UNICEF has pre-positioned supplies in Suva and Nadi including water kits, health kits and education materials such as school tents. If called on to assist, UNICEF will actively support the Fiji Government in leading clusters of agencies working in water and sanitation, education and nutrition, and in child protection.