Thousands of families in Fiji are homeless after the destructive tropical cyclone Winston hit over the weekend – and emergency shelter is a critical priority, according to Habitat for Humanity.
Staff at the organisation’s local ReStore charity stores had made urgent provisions so people can choose to make a donation at the checkout to its disaster response fund.
Chief executive Claire Szabo said in Fiji at least 150 houses had been destroyed, 87 damaged, and reports were coming in that whole villages had been completely devastated on outer islands.
“There is a critical and urgent need to help provide shelter for the families of Fiji,” she said.
“Habitat has been on the ground in Fiji for 25 years, and we are continuing to respond now. The immediate provision of shelter is a priority, and our disaster response specialists are there. We need donations. And when the time comes, we will be there to help families repair or rebuild cyclone-resilient homes.”
“So far, we know that sadly, people’s lives have been lost. There are more than 8000 people currently sheltering in evacuation centres. And before the cyclone, more than 140,000 Fijiian people were living in substandard homes – it will take us some weeks to fully understand the damage.”
The Fijian National Disaster Management Office had also warned that thousands of houses across Fiji may need to be demolished as a result of the cyclone damage. Ms Szabo said many people had a strong connection with Fiji, and would be in a position where they were seeking a tangible way to help.
“Habitat for Humanity ReStores are taking donations at the checkout, and also welcoming donations of quality used goods which will help to fund Habitat’s action in Fiji.”
Cyclone Winston ravaged Fiji’s islands on 20 and 21 February 2016, destroying and damaging homes. 21 people have been confirmed dead, and four are missing. It is one of the most severe to have hit the South Pacific.