Habitat for Humanity responding now to Cyclone Winston, in Fiji

Feb 21, 2016

20 February 2015
For immediate release

Habitat for Humanity’s work weather-strengthening homes in Fiji is being tested this weekend as Cyclone Winston unleashes its power on the Pacific Island group.

Besides its longstanding work building homes for low income families, Habitat Fiji has increasingly focused on response, recovery, and resilience projects stemming from the island nation’s vulnerability to destructive storms, cyclones and floods.

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand CEO Claire Szabo said the organisation was feeling “enormous apprehension going in to the storm.”

“There is immense concern for the families of Fiji – children who will be fearful, and parents desperate to provide safe shelter,” she said. says Claire Szabo, CEO of Habitat for

“But we are consoled by the work we have been able to do in recent years, strengthening homes and building better, for events just like Cyclone Winston.”

Habitat for Humanity International has a staff team of disaster response experts currently providing direct support to Fiji.

“The same people that served in Nepal last year after the April earthquake are now focused on Winston and the critical need for a shelter response in the Pacific,” Ms Szabo said.

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is also gearing up.

“It’s easy to feel hopeless when you are far away, and you’re just watching the weather reports with horror,” Ms Szabo said.

“But our team has come together this weekend to ensure that New Zealanders hear about the shelter needs of people in this Cyclone, and have a chance to show support. As well as coordinating with other responding agencies, New Zealand staff were emailing and calling supporters, and sharing information on social media.”

How to help:
– Donate at habitat.org.nz/donate
– Follow Habitat’s work on Facebook and at www.habitat.org.nz

Donating used goods
People often wish to send their second-hand goods off-shore after a crisis, however this can be expensive for people in the disaster to receive and it does not target their needs. However, second-hand goods can be donated at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. ReStores turn goods into cash to support Habitat’s local and global work. You can find a local ReStore here.

Quick facts
140,000: estimated number of people in Fiji living in sub-standard housing
Prior to TC Winston, Fiji was expecting to need more than 30,000 houses in the next 15 years
4,900 households in Fiji have been served by Habitat with new homes or housing improvements since 1991

For media enquiries, contact:

Claire Szabó
Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand
644 Great South Road, Ellerslie
Auckland 1642, New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 579 4111 · Mobile: +64 21 161 2969
[email protected]