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Tropical Cyclone Winston Appeal (Fiji)

Photos: Fiji Red Cross/IFRC - Salote Maramaciriciri/Corinne Amble

The Tropical Cyclone Winston Appeal (Fiji) closed on Friday 29 April.

The Australian community gave generously, raising more than $4.2 million to provide humanitarian support for affected families. Our sincere thanks to all those who donated, as well as to the ABC and the Australian Government for supporting the people of Fiji.

Red Cross response to Cyclone Winston

The most powerful cyclone in Fiji's history left thousands of people without their homes and in need of urgent help.

Fiji Red Cross provided support to communities even before the category-five cyclone struck island communities across the country, helping them evacuate safely to survive the powerful storm. As soon as it was safe, Red Cross volunteers went to the worst-hit areas across the country.

Every day we reach more people in need in Fiji. So far we have:

  • provided relief supplies to more than 50,600 people
  • assessed 19,500 households to determine their needs
  • treated illnesses and injuries on Malake and other islands
  • sent Australian shelter and logistics aid workers to support the response

Our aid workers and local volunteers are helping families with technical information on how to rebuild homes that are safer and more storm-proof. Families in eight of the worst affected villages are being provided with access to improved clean water supplies and sanitation facilities to prevent disease and ill health in the months ahead. Over 50,000 people are being helped as they recover from this devastating cyclone in the months ahead.

News from Fiji and Tonga

06 Apr 'Worst nightmares' as Cyclone Zena arrives in Fiji

23 Mar Help for those hit hardest by Cyclone Winston

09 Mar Red Cross thanks Australia and the ABC for helping Fiji

01 Mar 'What the wind didn't destroy, the waves took away'

26 Feb Shelter and dignity after Cyclone Winston

24 Feb Fiji doesn't need the shirt off your back

23 Feb An aid worker's account of the night Cyclone Winston hit Fiji

21 Feb Fiji lashed by its strongest ever tropical cyclone

19 Feb Cyclone Winston's u-turn back to Tonga and Fiji

About the appeal

I've raised money - when do I need to bank my funds?
Organisers of fundraising events or those who have collected or pledged donations have until Friday 27 May 2016 to send money to Red Cross. If you have an activity or event and you plan to send in any money or funds after 27 May, please let Red Cross know as soon as possible by calling 1800 811 700.

How funds are used
Donations made to the Cyclone Winston Appeal assist Red Cross to provide humanitarian support to people and communities in countries affected by Cyclone Winston. That support may include:

  • emergency relief and recovery assistance such as food, water, sanitation, shelter and health initiatives including blood
  • sending specialist aid workers to assist in assessment, relief, recovery and disaster and crisis management operations
  • working in affected areas to strengthen local resilience and deliver effective relief and recovery services.

Should donations raised exceed the amount required to meet the emergency needs of people in affected areas or if there are changes in circumstances beyond Red Cross' control, Red Cross will direct excess funds to responding to international crises and building resilience.

Red Cross will not deduct more than 10% of money raised by the Cyclone Winston Appeal to cover indirect administrative and appeal costs such as receipting donations, IT costs and overheads. Any interest earned on donations will be invested back into the appeal.

Tropical Cyclone Winston: your questions answered

Cyclone Winston was the strongest tropical cyclone ever to hit Fiji. A category 5 storm with wind gusts up to 325kph, it wiped out homes, flooded rivers and brought down trees and power lines across the country.

Cyclone Winston caused tragic loss in Fiji:

  • 44 people confirmed dead
  • More than 32,000 homes were damaged or destroyed
  • 150,000 people need shelter assistance
  • Crops and markets were destroyed across the country
  • 250,000 people need safe water and sanitation facilities

Red Cross continues to help thousands of families to recover and rebuild in the wake of the cyclone.

How else can I donate?

You can donate over the phone by calling 1800 811 700.

Commonwealth Bank and Westpac Bank are now accepting over-the-counter donations for the Tropical Cyclone Winston Appeal at their branches around Australia.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.

Can I donate goods?

Thank you for your generous offer. Red Cross does not accept or distribute goods donated by the public to communities affected by disasters. We purchase items in bulk from suppliers as close to the affected country as we can. This enables essential relief supplies like tarpaulins or medicines to get into the country first; prevents a backlog of unsolicited goods at airports or shipping docks; and can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in shipping and storage fees.

The best way to help people affected by an emergency is usually to donate money because this empowers people to buy what they need the most and support their local businesses.

If you have clothes or other items to donate, please take them to your local Red Cross store, where they can be sold to support programs in Australia and elsewhere.

Read more about why we can't accept donated goods for international disasters.

Can I fundraise to support the Tropical Cyclone Winston Appeal?

Yes please! Here's how you can do it.

  • Register your fundraising activity and agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Once your fundraising activity is approved, we'll send you a letter of authority to fundraise on behalf of Australian Red Cross, along with a fundraising kit including a donation box, poster, reply-paid envelope and details about how you can make payment.
  • Once registered you can also set-up your own online fundraising page.
  • Having your own online fundraising page means you can share your fundraising activity online and through your social networks. Friends, family and colleagues can then make a secure donation with their credit card while also leaving you messages of support.

Can I volunteer to help in Fiji or Tonga?

Australian Red Cross does not send volunteers overseas during a disaster or emergency response. In these instances, we would only send trained specialists who have experience working in international emergencies and with Red Cross.

The Australian Government's international volunteer program offers long-term, skilled volunteer positions across the Asia-Pacific region.

Searching for family or friends?

For Australian citizens: contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 1300 555 135 (within Australia) or +61 2 6261 3305 (outside Australia) or via SMS on +61 421 269 080.

For people of other nationalities: Visit Restoring Family Links to search through a list of missing persons or find people who have responded that they are alive. You can also register names of people with whom you have lost contact .

People in Fiji can also contact Fiji Red Cross on +679 3314 133 (ext. 112) or +679 873 8803.

How else can I help?

To help in times of emergency
Every donation we receive for our Disaster Response and Recovery work helps Australian Red Cross continue to be there for local and international communities struggling in the wake of a disaster. Please donate now »