As the scale of devastation wrought by Cyclone Winston in Fiji becomes apparent today, Oxfam is preparing to deploy staff to assist if needed.
Oxfam’s regional director for the Pacific Rajeli Nicole, based in Suva, reported flooding and ‘terrifying winds’.
“It’s very unnerving sitting in your house and hearing trees fall and crash all around you. Many people outside the main urban centres live in simple structures, so there are fears the damage is likely to be significant right across Fiji. We’ll start to get a picture today of what this nation has to deal with," Rajeli Nicole said.
At its center, Cyclone Winston was generating gusts of up to 325kph, with average winds of 230kph. The Fijian Government declared a state of natural disaster, and issued a curfew for the whole of Fiji, taking effect from 6pm Saturday local time. A humanitarian response coordinator will be deployed from Australia as soon as flights allow.
Oxfam has expertise in water supply, sanitation and hygiene, emergency food security and livelihoods. Oxfam is ready to deploy more staff from the region and Australia should assistance be required.
After twice drenching outlying islands in nearby Tonga last week, Cyclone Winston re-intensified yesterday.
Notes to editors
Donations to support Oxfam’s emergency responses can be made online at www.oxfam.org.au/icf