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Cyclone Evan (Fiji and Samoa) update


The situation in Samoa

Samoa Red Cross reports that the number of people in evacuation centres has dramatically reduced from its peak of 7,739 people immediately after the cyclone, to 810 people by early January. By 11 January all official evacuation centres were closed and families whose homes had been destroyed, were staying with relatives, friends and in local communities. Various Samoan authorities have been working hard to bring services back on line, these include:

  • The Electric Power Corporation who has been repairing lines and restoring services.
  • The Land Transport Authority is focusing on clearing debris from the drain systems and restoring all roads damaged during the cyclone.
  • The Samoa Water Authority has reported that almost all of its customers in Upolu have had their services restored.
  • Water carting services are now mostly concentrated in rural areas, particularly where communities are not connected to the Samoa Water Authority and their traditional water supplies had been affected by the cyclone.

 

Fesuiaiga Aitui's house on the main island of Upolu was severely damaged by the cyclone. She shared the house with her husband, two children and three grandchildren. "It is a great pleasure to see that the Red Cross is helping not only me and my family but also to other people that were affected by Cyclone Evan."

The situation in Fiji

At the peak of the emergency almost 14,000 people were accommodated in 242 evacuation centres. On 11 January Fiji Red Cross Society reported that 106 people remained in 11 evacuation centres. These evacuation centres have now all closed.

Unfortunately around 150 schools (118 Primary and 32 Secondary) were damaged by the cyclone and accompanying storm. Fiji's National Disaster Management Office reported that it was not able to repair all schools by 22 January, which was the start of the school year. In situations where the schools were too severely damaged, temporary shelters have been installed while repairs continue. Communities in the Yasawa Islands, as well as the Western division and the Lautoka area have been most severely affected.

Sadly the high winds destroyed crops in the northwest coastal areas of Viti Levu and in the Yasawa and Mamanuca island groups. Root crops such as cassava are stable diets of Fijian families and are highly susceptible to damage caused by wind and flooding. Breadfruit, a common source of carbohydrate for rural communities, was fruiting at the time of the cyclone and many trees were completely devastated by the strong winds and salt spray. The Fiji Ministry for Provincial Development has responded to food shortages by distributing food rations to affected communities. The Department of Agriculture has also responded and has been supplying seedlings, seeds, cuttings and support to encourage early recovery of crops as well as dredging/drainage, fencing and clearing support.

Red Cross recovery priorities

In Samoa, Red Cross will concentrate its support on enabling access to clean fresh water and improved sanitation in communities affected by the cyclone, that are not being serviced by the Samoa Water Authority. Support will also be provided for local recovery initiatives and to assist families and communities with better disaster preparation and planning, to identify ways to minimise the negative effects of future disasters. Samoan Red Cross will also re-stock the pre-positioned items, including tarpaulins, blankets, hygiene items, cooking sets, sleeping mats and water carrying containers, that were distributed during the cyclone.

Fiji Red Cross has a clearly defined role as part of the Government of Fiji's National Disaster Plan. Red Cross will continue to:

  • Assess the damage and immediate needs of affected communities.
  • Provide temporary shelter and household items, including family kits, tarpaulins, blankets, hygiene items and cooking sets to those affected.
  • Replenish stocks of pre-positioned supplies that were distributed during the cyclone.

 

French Red Cross is responding to community needs in the French Territory of Wallis and Futuna. Red Cross initially provided 250 tarps and 20 shelter kits to Wallis Island as part of a mission that left New Caledonia on 17 December. They continue to work in close coordination with the French Government and local authorities.

Funds raised through the Australian Red Cross Cyclone Evan (Fiji and Samoa) 2013 Crisis Appeal will be used to assist communities in Samoa and Fiji in line with agreed recovery plans in each country.

Louisa Leuli is 15 years old. Her family's house was completely destroyed by the cyclone. Louisa lived there with her parents, three sisters and two brothers. "My family lost a lot of belongings and especially our home. To build another one I need tools, so thanks to Red Cross for giving me this shelter kit, and all the items to help my family through this difficult time." Leuli Leuli (Louisa's father).

Please donate to our disaster relief and recovery work and provide valuable support to our emergency services staff and volunteers as they prepare, respond and provide support to communities during and after disasters. You will know your donation has made an important contribution to our work whenever you see a Red Cross Emergency Services team in action.