Cyclone Winston

The response

In February this year Fiji and parts of Tonga were struck by the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in the southern hemisphere. Cyclone Winston wiped out homes, schools, roads and crops killing over 40 people and impacting hundreds of thousands more.

Thanks to your support we’ve been able to work with local partners to ensure families and communities are prepared before disaster strikes, and provide the tools they need to recover.

Joe and his wife from Navuniivi village

Joe and his wife.

Being prepared

Since 2011 Plan International Australia in partnership with Partner in Community Development Fiji (PCDF) has been implementing projects that work with communities to ensure they are better prepared for natural disasters. Drawing on knowledge from the project meant those communities were better equipped to prepare before the cyclone hit.

Joe, headman of his village in the Ra province is chairman of his village’s community disaster management committee. He had been tracking the cyclone and working with the committee to prepare the village. As the cyclone approached everyone gathered in the community building, the strongest in the village to wait out the storm.

When it was over 33 houses in the village had been destroyed and another 39 were damaged but importantly, no lives were lost.

Six months on from Cyclone Winston our Humanitarian Advisor, Evan Davies reported on how disaster preparedness can save lives. Find out more.

Batiki island Lomaiviti Province 1

The recovery

Batiki island is a district in the Lomaiviti Province, there are four villages with a total population of 270 people. Cyclone Winston wiped out most of the houses and impacted on the water supply. All crops, including vegetables, roots and fruits were destroyed, the main sources of food on the island.

Thanks to your support, Plan International and PCDF supplied affected communities with seeds and tools for households to replant crops and repair damaged homes.

Filomena Vauvaus House, Nadala Village

Filomena’s house

Filomena, 64, lives with her six children in the Savatu district in Ba province. She and her husband were active members of their village before he passed away last year, leaving her to care for their six children on her own. Cyclone Winston blew off the roof of the family home and destroyed their crops, their only source of income. Their relatives around the village have been helping provide them with food, and with support from Plan International and our partners PCDF they’ve received a food pack and tarpaulin to serve as a temporary roof. Filomena's community has received carpentry tools to start rebuilding.

Through PCFD Filomena will have a farming plan to follow, and through our partnership she will receive the tools, seeds and food she needs to start farming again.

Your support means families like Filomena's not only have access to immediate relief, they have they support they need to recover and rebuild their lives.

Joveci's wife and children in temporary shelter

Fulori and the children in a temporary shelter.

Joveci, 37, and Fulori, 30, have lived with their children in the Savatu district in Ba province for many years. Farming is their main source of income, and helps them to send their children to school and in their day-to-day living.

When Cyclone Winston struck it blew away their wooden home and all their possessions. Their crops were completely destroyed, including vegetables, fruit trees and traditional crops like dalo (a dry starchy rootcrop), cassava, sweet potatoes and bananas.

With your support, Plan international in partnership with PCDF was able to supply taps, food and a first aid kit to help with the immediate recovery. The Fijian government and Joveci and Fulori's relatives in the village have provided seeds and planting supplies to help the family start new crops.

Both Joveci and Fulori are confident they can work together to recover what they’ve lost.

Thank you for supporting the people of Fiji. You can help ensure that when disaster strikes we can mobilise to support children and families on the ground. Find out more about our Children in Crisis fund: