Tropical Cyclone Winston caused widespread damage in Fiji in February 2016, and also affected some areas of Tonga. It is the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded to make landfall in Fiji, causing 44 deaths and affecting up to 350,000 people.
Australia worked closely with the Government of Fiji to support its immediate response and is now assisting the Government as it transitions to the longer term recovery and reconstruction phase.
Foreign Minister Bishop visited Fiji on 13-14 March to see first-hand the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston and how Australia’s support was assisting the Government and people of Fiji.
Australia's Humanitarian Assistance to Fiji
The Australian Government is continuing to work closely with the Fiji Government and international partners as Fiji transitions to the longer term recovery and reconstruction phase following Tropical Cyclone Winston.
We have provided a total of $35 million in assistance to Fiji, in addition to the significant Australian Defence Force personnel and assets that were deployed to Fiji in the immediate response and early recovery phases.
Our initial $15 million package of assistance reached over 200,000 people, including by:
- providing humanitarian supplies such as shelter kits, access to safe water and hygiene items
- helping to restore access to education and medical facilities, and
- providing protection services for the most vulnerable, including women and children.
Our latest $20 million package of assistance is focused on returning life to normal in Fiji. We will rebuild schools and health facilities destroyed by the cyclone, replace damaged medical equipment and restore water and sanitation services. We will also repair damaged markets, including building accommodation facilities for women vendors, which will enable farmers and market vendors to return to work.
The principle of 'build back better' will underpin our efforts. We will rebuild infrastructure and communities that are more resilient to natural disasters.
At the request of Fiji, Australia’s energy sector, through the peak body Energy Networks Association, has gifted equipment (including seven trucks) to the Fiji Electricity Authority. This equipment was handed over to the Fiji Electricity Authority on 30 May. Australian Government-funded technical assistance will supplement this package. This public private partnership will support the restoration of critical electrical infrastructure to facilitate the broader recovery.
Fact sheet: Early recovery from Tropical Cyclone Winston through supporting critical energy restoration [PDF 497 KB] | [Word 2 MB]
Please visit the Smartraveller website for the latest Australian travel advice for Tonga and Fiji.
If you would like to contribute to Australia’s response to Tropical Cyclone Winston please consider donating to an agency working with affected communities. Often the most effective way to support the relief effort in countries affected by disasters is by providing cash donations through organisations responding to the crisis. The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has a list of ACFID-accredited non-government organisations. ACFID also has detailed information about public donations.
Another way to help Fiji is to visit. Many of the country's resorts and hotels are operating as usual, and Fiji is welcoming tourists back.
Follow @AusHumanitarian on Twitter and the Australian High Commission in Suva's Facebook page for more information about Australia's humanitarian response.