Habitat for Humanity has launched an appeal today to help rebuild communities devastated by Cyclone Winston.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston – one of the largest category-five storms to hit the region – made landfall on the main island Viti Levu on Saturday, packing winds of up to 230 kilometres per hour, with gusts of up to 325 kilometres per hour.
Habitat for Humanity Fiji staff are now on the ground supporting damage assessments and planning disaster response efforts.
Reports tell of communities in the cyclone’s path being completely flattened, with severe or total damage to all homes.
Although the scale of the devastation in Fiji is starting to revealing itself, with communication lines to most rural areas still down, and power outages in most of the country, information is slowly filtering back from outlying areas.
Habitat for Humanity are currently in the field supporting damage assessments, coordinating with the local government and partners and are planning to respond with emergency shelter assistance to affected families.
“We are deeply concerned for the people of Fiji. An estimated 140,000 people currently live in substandard housing conditions in Fiji. When a cyclone like this occurs, these houses offer little protection and are often flattened,” Habitat for Humanity Australia’s Chief Executive, Martin Thomas said.”The need for safe shelter is critical.”
Based on funding availability, the longer-term response will follow Habitat’s model of assisting affected communities with housing solutions ranging from emergency shelter interventions to permanent home reconstruction.
Habitat for Humanity has been working in Fiji for 25 years. In this time, Habitat has helped over 4,900 families build homes and hope through partnerships with governments, bilateral and non-profit organisations and international volunteers.
Habitat’s work also goes beyond the construction of homes. Habitat for Humanity Fiji works on a range of projects throughout the country including disaster prevention and recovery, water and sanitation, and disabled access housing projects.
“In disasters like this, there is a critical need of fresh water, food and basic hygiene kits. There is also a need for tools and materials to enable people to start repairs or build basic short-term shelters.”
Habitat for Humanity has worldwide experience responding to disasters, including most recently Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and the Nepal earthquakes.
To donate to Habitat for Humanity Australia’s Fiji Disaster appeal please click below: