The category five cyclone that hit Fiji was one of the most powerful ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest recorded cyclone to hit this country - with wind gusts over 300 kilometres per hour. The last death toll as of yesterday evening was 21 people; four others were known to be missing at sea. National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) says this number will likely change as surveys of the widespread damage sustained progress. There are whole villages that have gone, evacuation centres are full, and aid agencies have warned of a widespread health and food/water crisis. The Government of Fiji has declared a State of Disaster for 30 days, which commenced on Sunday.
Follow The Fijian Government page on Facebook for information about their official response. The Sydney Fiji Day and Sydney Fijian Disaster Relief pages on Facebook are sharing good updates on the cyclone, what is happening on the ground and various donation drives happening right now.
Those seeking to give are also advised to contribute directly to aid appeals currently being run by reputable organisations. Below are links to the Cyclone Winston donation appeals of some of the big NGOs and large relief agencies, as well as church-run aid groups.
The Red Cross Australia’s Tropical Cyclone Winston Appeal has been launched to provide humanitarian support to people affected by the devastating category 5 cyclone. That support may include:
- emergency relief and recovery assistance such as food, water, sanitation, shelter and health initiatives including blood
- sending specialist aid workers to assist in assessment, relief, recovery and disaster and crisis management operations
- working in affected areas to strengthen local resilience and deliver effective relief and recovery services.
Donate to the Red Cross appeal HERE.
CARE’s Cyclone Winston Appeal is another donation option. In Fiji, CARE partners with the non-government network Live & Learn to provide emergency response advice and support. Their teams on the ground are working to assess the damage caused by the storm and are set to support the Fiji Government in any emergency response efforts. They say: “Our emergency response experts are ready to support the most vulnerable, including women and girls. It’s highly likely there will be urgent need to provide shelter and access to clean and safe water.”
Donate to CARE’s appeal HERE (includes option to donate over the phone and mail).
Save the Children’s Cyclone Winston Appeal is seeking donations to fund:
- teams ready to assess the damage once the curfew lifts
- teachers ready to support children in evacuation centres. To start, they will operate special playgroups for children staying in some of the 700-plus evacuation centres across the country.
- stockpiled emergency supplies to ensure children return to school as soon as possible. This includes school bags, classroom kits and child friendly spaces kits for evacuation centres if schools are damaged.
Donate to Save the Chidren's appeal HERE.
UNICEF’s Fiji Children's Emergency Appeal is asking for help to:
- Deliver emergency water, health kits and nutritional supplies to families who have lost everything.
- Set up child-friendly spaces to keep kids off the streets and away from danger.
- Provide counselling and pyschosocial support for children suffering profound stress.
- Help kids get back to school and through every step of the long-term recovery.
Donate to UNICEF’s appeal HERE.
Habitat for Humanity Australia’s Fiji Disaster Appeal is also open. Habitat’s work in Fiji includes the construction of homes, and other projects throughout the country including disaster prevention and recovery, water and sanitation, and disabled access housing projects.
Donate to Habitat for Humanity’s appeal HERE.
Uniting World Emergency Appeal says all funds raised will be used to support their Fijian church partner’s relief efforts, including re-establishing healthcare and schools, replanting crops and livelihoods and ‘building back better’ to safeguard communities against future cyclones. Their church partner, the Methodist Church in Fiji, is the largest denomination in the country, covering an extensive network across 55 districts. Church President Rev Tevita has opened all church buildings for emergency shelter, and has directed ministers throughout the country to assess and report on the extent of the damage.
Donate to Uniting World's appeal HERE (options for giving include via phone and online).
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is the official humanitarian agency of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For its Cyclone Winston Appeal, ADRA says it has prepositioned supplies ready to distribute, including 1,000 water containers, 4,000 bars of soap, water purification tablets, 1,000 first aid kids and other hygiene and sanitation items. Five staff from ADRA Australia and NZ have been deployed to Fiji to support the response.
Donate to ADRA's appeal HERE.
WORDS by Pauline Vetuna.
All photos by Fijian Government on Facebook.
ADDENDUM: Stella Magazine have received the following recommendations from readers, about other organisations to consider donating to -
Janet West Lotawa wrote: "Please consider Tutu Rural Training as one of your recommendations. They are one of the most reputable rural agriculture training centers in the Pacific - have a network with villages throughout Cakadrove province - Taveuni is considered one of the worst hit areas. They are run by the Catholic Church and have trustworthy leadership for being able to assist communities they already work with."
A Girl & Her World wrote: We have been working in RakiRaki, one of the hardest hit areas, for 5 years through a local team who have now lost everything. We will be restoring livelihoods and getting kids back to school." Find out more HERE.
Sukhia Tuimaleali'ifano Go wrote: "Fiji Red Cross Society just launched its National Appeal in a Press Conference hosted by Madam President, Ms. Cathy Wong. All funds received will be used to assist those affected by #TCWinston.
Members of the public can make cash donations to Fiji Red Cross through the ANZ bank:
Bank Name: ANZ Banking Group Ltd.
Account Name : Fiji Red Cross Society
Account Number: 1313354
BSB: 010890 (applicable for international deposits)
SWIFT CODE: ANZBFJFX (applicable for international deposits)
Please State in Narrative: TC Winston Fiji Red Cross Appeal and your name."