One year since Cyclone Winston

By CARE Australia February 14, 2017 0 comments

Fijian families are still recovering from Cyclone Winston, which hit the island nation with devastating impact on 20 February 2016. Winston was the strongest cyclone ever to make landfall in the Pacific. Whole villages were destroyed on the outer islands, with 540,400 people affected across the country – over 60 per cent of the population.

CARE and Live & Learn, our local partner in Fiji, immediately mounted a joint emergency response, and thanks to our supporters, we have helped over 25,000 people from 231 villages and settlements.

Families were provided with hygiene kits (red buckets containing soap bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, women’s sanitary pads and water purifiFollowing Tropical Cyclone Winston, CARE sent aid through our partners in Fiji, Live and Learn to some of the hardest hit communities. On the mainland, those villages were in the Rakiraki region, where this interview took place. The aid consisted primarily of seedlings and hygiene kits (the red buckets) containing soap bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, women’s hygiene items, and water purification tablets. Alumita’s story in her own words: I’ve got three kids, all girls. The eldest is in school nearby. The next one is in primary school. Before Winston we were here and our source of income was selling cassava root crops and vegetables, and weaving mats. The wind has really affected us. Me, as a mother to three children. At the time my youngest was just a new-born. We least expected Tropical Cyclone Winston to arrive on Saturday. My husband went to the shop. On his way back the wind followed him. We are sitting on the foundation of our house. There is nothing left of the house. When my husband walked in the wind was so strong that we couldn’t close the door. As a mother I was very scared. We grabbed what we could and moved to a coroner. The roof started coming off. I told my husband to take the baby to a safer house. I have never seen such winds. I never allowed the fear to take over me so I could be a strong mother to my children. The whole roof was gone and the rain was falling upon us. The experience was very frightening. One of the branches from the mango tree fell into the house. But there was only one corner left to shelter behind. We could feel the floor moving so I grabbed my children and hid them under the floor. They were crying “Mum please come down here with us – we don’t want you to die.” That corner and the floor protected us until the wind went away. CARE and Live and Learn have immensely helped us. In our time of need we – as you can see – the aid you provided us is starting to bear fruits. The seedlings of tomatoes, eggplantcat
ion tablets), shelter kits (containing tarpaulin sheets, ropes and tools) and seed kits.

Our generous donors helped the following families, who wanted to share their message of thanks.

“CARE and Live & Learn have immensely helped us. In our time of need the aid you provided us is starting to bear fruits. The seedlings of tomatoes, eggplant, cabbages, is so much in our lives.

“I’d like to thank you again for your assistance. [It was] what we really needed in the house and for farming. Seeing the aid from people that care rebuilt my spirits and my health mentally and spiritually, and it helped my family as well.” Alumita, mother of three.

Cyclone Winston Emergency Response Update

“CARE [and Live & Learn] has helped us a lot. The best assistance that we received was the red bucket. All the contents were exactly what a mother would need and it was delivered at exactly the right time. For the hygiene of my children, and as a woman, it was exactly what I needed.” Laisa, mother of three.

Following Tropical Cyclone Winston, CARE sent aid through our partners in Fiji, Live and Learn to some of the hardest hit communities. On the mainland, those villages were in the Rakiraki region, where this interview took place. The aid consisted primarily of seedlings and hygiene kits (the red buckets) containing soap bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, women’s hygiene items, and water purification tablets. Sanaila and Andi Vakaravia’s story in their own words: Sanaila: I live with my wife. I have three grandchildren, two girls and one boy. We have been living with them from before Tropical Cyclone Winston. I have two sons who live in their own homes in the village. My house was built of corrugated iron but the floor was just mats on the soil. On the day of Tropical Cyclone Winston, the wind progressed. In the night when we felt the strong winds we went to another shelter. We are elderly and had our grandchildren with us. It was very hard. When we left everything was intact. When we returned everything was blown away by the strong wind. One of my sons’ houses was unfortunately destroyed. The whole house was blown away and was destroyed. It severely affected our daily life, the things we do during the day. As we are elderly we are anxiously awaiting aid. We now live in a corrugated iron shelter and it is a hard life. We still have to get our grandchildren to school every day. We appreciate and thank you again for the distribution of the necessities in the red buckets: tooth paste, soap, hygiene kits, garden tools, which enabled us to plant and smile each week, so thank you a lot for your assistance. Andi: Especially being a mother and grandmother as well, those supplies gave us so much help looking after the grandchildren, feeding them, cleaning them, sending them back to school. Sanaila: At present, there is a great need, especially for my wife and grandchildren. We need a proper shelter to stay safe. It has been really difficult to find income. I a

“We were going through a very difficult time but when the aid arrived it gave us hope for the future and inspired us to go on. We are very thankful to Live & Learn and CARE.” Andi and Sanalia, grandparents of three.

Cyclone Winston Emergency Response Update“I appreciate the assistance provided by CARE and Live & Learn and for coming here and showing that you do really care and helping us service the ongoing challenges we face in our lives.

Some of the things we received were farming tools to start growing our vegetables, seedlings were provided too. Not only that but the tools to rebuild the house. These are some of the things that helped us restart our lives.” Mere, mother of three.

Following the initial emergency response phase, CARE is continuing to help affected communities recover by building toilets, community plant nurseries and water supply systems.

Read more about our response, and how you can help us prepare for future emergencies here: Cyclone Winston Emergency 

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