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United Nations Organisation OCHA and representatives of the Government of Fiji launch an urgent appeal for $38.6 million US dollars to provide aid and relief to the 350,000 civilians affected by the natural disaster. Cyclone Winston hit Fiji on 20th February 2016.  Many parts of the country have been destroyed. The people of Fiji are in desperate need of emergency relief.  

Geneva 4th March 2016, Switzerland:  On the evening of 20th February, tropical cyclone Winston hit the Fiji islands, with wind gusts of up to 330 kilometres per hour. Two weeks later,  the people of Fiji are left with the devastating consequences..  Research has shown that up to 100 per cent of buildings have been destroyed on some of the Fiji islands. Around 350,000 Fijians (40 % of the population) are severely struggling to recover in the aftermath of disaster.  Many of them have lost everything.  In some areas, there is no access to drinking water or medical aid.  It has been difficult for some people to find shelter and food.  Those that have been able to, are at present sitting in evacuation centres. There is no access to health services, and women and children are the most severely affected. Agriculture and livestock have been destroyed. Schools have been wrecked.

All of these factors highlight a desperate need of intense and rapid humanitarian aid.  If not, the country will struggle to recover from the cyclone and will be left with next to nothing. In light of this, Ambassador Khan and the UN OCHA stressed for the international community to stand by the people of Fiji. 

The cyclone has provided the country with a long- term loss to economic and social growth.

International donors have already made in-kind donations and provided technical assistance worth nearly $22 million and provided $9 million in cash donations. If this continues, every little donation can help the victims of Cyclone Winston to recover from this awful natural catastrophe that has caused so much chaos and destruction.

Marcy Vigoda, Chief of Partnerships and Resource Mobilization in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva states that:  “It is vital that the international community provides the necessary resources so we can help all the affected people with shelter, health services, water and sanitation, and support students to restart their education.” 

By Anoushka Rai, under the supervision of El Hadji Gorgui Wade Ndoye