Making progress on Koro Island
Every single home on Koro Island was damaged by Cyclone Winston; barely a handful were left standing. Six people lost their lives to the brutal wind and surging sea.
Fiji Red Cross and Koro Islanders have been working together for months to recover and rebuild. First, emergency relief items were distributed across the island.
"Every family received tarpaulins, cooking pots, plate, cups, clothes, soap, toothpaste, candles, lanterns and more," says Anaseini Vakatali of Tuatua village. "I was thankful and my heart was overjoyed. We were able to at least start building our lives slowly again."
Since then, water and sanitation engineers have built a spring protection system in Tuatua, ensuring 400 people have a safe supply of water.
Shelter specialists trained local carpenters in safe building techniques, so that the homes now being rebuilt have a better chance of withstanding strong cyclones.
Twenty-one-year-old Peniasi Waisu is a volunteer builder. "Ever since I was a kid I have always loved helping people," he says. "When Red Cross came, I was chosen to be one of the participants to learn how to build the shelter. I was really eager to learn and help build houses for families in Tuatua."
Health teams have been going door to door in seven of the island's 14 villages, helping people understand how to protect themselves from diseases like typhoid, dengue, zika and leptospirosis. They've also been checking on people's emotional wellbeing.
Eleni Luvenitoga of Naqaidamn village is of many to appreciate the home visits. "It's really decent of Fiji Red Cross to conduct house-to-house visits because we feel free to open our hearts and share our thoughts."
Most of Koro's population still lives in tents and makeshift shelters. Rebuilding continues slowly and Red Cross will stand with this community every step of the way.