Expert available for interview: Dave Husy, Director, Programs, Plan International Australia. Photographs available here: http://bit.ly/1TpT4tN, please credit Plan International Australia. Contact Clare Price on 0490 252 743 / clare.price@plan.org.au  to arrange interviews. 

Plan International Australia’s Cyclone Winston emergency appeal is supporting children and communities in Fiji through two local partner organisations: Partners in Community Development Fiji (PCDF) and Medical Services Pacific (MSP). Dave Husy, Director of Programs at Plan International said “these two organisations have been working in affected communities for many years and have the capacity to provide much-needed support.” 

Through Fijian partners, Plan will be assisting children and families in Ba, Ra and Lomaiviti provinces of Fiji, by distributing food, water containers, water purification tablets, blankets, clothing, shelter materials, tarpaulins and first aid kits. MSP is also providing medical services to affected communities in these areas.

Tevita Ravumaidama, from PCDF, has just returned from assessing needs in Ra Province, northern Fiji, “I went to 11 coastal communities in Ra province. I travelled the main road that runs along the north side of Ra province, a road that was only recently reopened after being blocked for many days by fallen trees. It took one week to clear debris from the road.

“In some of the coastal villages in Ra Province nothing has been left standing; in 90% of the villages most homes were destroyed. There was no sign of grass or leaves on trees as far as 20 kilometres inland. Everything was brown, broken trees everywhere, ocean waters and extreme winds destroyed everything. 

“The food situation in Ra province is dire; crops were completely destroyed by the cyclone. As they can manage, people in larger nearby towns are travelling out to coastal villages to distribute smalls amounts of food. Government supplies, food rations, repairing water supplies and roads, have just started reaching these coastal areas.

“In all of the coastal villages power supply is off, as well as phone reception down. People are exposed to mosquitoes as they sleep outside or in overcrowded evacuation centres. I am fearful of disease outbreaks such as Zika and Dengue. People in coastal villages are much worse off than people up in the highlands.

“In the highlands, in and around the town of Nadarivatu, there has been extensive damage. Our Nadarivatu office was completely destroyed. The road to Nadarivatu opened on Thursday last week. Government food supplies came to Nadarivatu on Friday last week, but only to evacuation centres, therefore people who are not in evacuation centres remain in desperate need of food supplies. In the highlands region, people are in need of food supplies as crops have been badly destroyed by winds. 

Editors’ notes:

Information about Plan’s emergency appeal can be found here: https://www.plan.org.au. Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 79 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

Media contact: Clare Price, Media Relations Manager, 0490 252 743, clare.price@plan.org.au