Shelter charity ready as Fiji braces for another tropical cyclone

Apr 6, 2016

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand
6 April 2016

For immediate release

The head of shelter charity Habitat for Humanity was today urging for Kiwis to support its disaster response fund, as families in Fiji, brace for the second tropical cyclone in six weeks.

According to the Fiji Government Meter Tropical Cyclone Zena is expected to reach land just south of Sigatoka on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, from midnight Thursday. Habitat for Humanity New Zealand Chief Executive Claire Szabo said this would mean a “frightening night for many families, who are still very much in the recovery phase following Tropical Cyclone Winston in February.”

“I’ve been in touch with colleagues in Fiji since early this morning, and they are understandably scared for what might come overnight for all the families in Fiji, including their own.”

“There has been widespread and flash flooding in Fiji over the past few days, with more than 3500 people evacuated – these are in areas that were hardest hit by TC Winston. TC Zena will bring more rain.”

“Habitat has been in Fiji for 25 years, we’ve been working so hard to bring shelter solutions to Fijian people, especially since Winston, and we are absolutely poised to respond again should TC Zena cause devastation. Unfortunately it seems that is very likely.”

“While we have been looking towards the rebuilding effort in Fiji, people are still very much in the recovery phase following the devastation of Winston – conditions which were exacerbated this week with flooding.”

“Some of the areas hardest hit by flooding are areas we have been supporting with temporary shelter in since the last cyclone. It’s quite distressing to think that people have managed to achieve shelter for their families again, only to be evacuated. And now a new cyclone.”

“So it’s a given that flooding is going to get worse, and people are scared.”

Tropical Cylone Zena is tracking towards the Viti Levu coast, with gale warnings in place on top of already very rough and high seas.

Ms Szabo urged New Zealanders to support the Habitat for Humanity Disaster Response Fund,

For more information, contact:
Claire Szabo, Habitat for Humanity NZ CEO, 021 161 2969.