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With each passing day, aid agencies are alarmed at the scale of the destruction caused by Cyclone Winston in Fiji, with latest reports indicating over 50,000 people are now in temporary evacuation centres.
Many of these centres are schools and with a government edict to reopen the schools in just over a week, the race is on to find temporary housing for people in communities which were hammered by the worst cyclone ever to hit the region.
Habitat for Humanity is warning Fiji’s shelter crisis, which is worsening by the day, is an urgent priority.
“With many areas still facing communication cuts and power outages, there are new revelations each day about the scale of the destruction,” said Habitat for Humanity Chief Executive, Martin Thomas. “The numbers left homeless jumped by 10,000 in just a day. We need to fast-track the aid response to ensure people have a chance to repair their homes or at least have access to temporary shelters.”
The situation is critical and the current shelter response is unable to cater to the number of people that will be without shelter once schools open.
To add to this, Fiji’s National Disaster Management Organisation has warned that thousands of houses across Fiji may need to be demolished as a result of damage from Cyclone Winston, presenting significant shelter challenges over the months ahead.
Habitat for Humanity were on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the storm conducting and supporting assessments with the local government.
Habitat will be assisting 5,000 families with emergency shelter assistance and based on funding availability, will also focus on longer-term response including helping affected communities with housing solutions ranging from emergency shelter interventions to permanent home reconstruction.