FIJI – United Nations officials said on Monday that Tropical Cyclone Winston has left at least 21 dead and over 8,000 displaced people in Fiji since Saturday. Winston is the strongest recorded cyclone that has hit the South Pacific since registers started.
The United Nations is ready to help local authorities to provide support to Fijians, according to Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. He added that the government has declared a natural disaster and requested international assistance, said Reuters.
Several Fijians have already received basic supplies, food and emergency shelter after the category-five cyclone left many people without a place to go. According to the journal Fijivillage, all Fijians have been called to assist in the clean-up of the country.
The Fijian Government has opened special bank accounts to receive financial aid. Donors will not be charged any fees even if they are in other continents.
“These funds will be used to directly benefit those Fijians who have been left homeless, without adequate food, water and essential services – especially those in rural and maritime communities,” Wrote Fijivillage on Monday.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said that many people had been left stunned and confused about what to do. He recommended people to stay indoors because there is a lot of debris on the roads, the power lines are not working and other spread materials such as iron and glass can be dangerous for people as the clean-up process may take some time.
Fiji schools will remain closed for at least one week, said Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, and The Nadi International Airport has restored its operations after being closed for two days.
Unfortunately, smaller villages suffered the most as a consequence of the cyclone. According to Alice Clements, a spokeswoman for UNICEF in the Pacific.
Cayla Tikaram: “alive so far”
A girl from Fiji has shaken up Twitter with pictures and reports about what happened to her home and family after the Cyclone Winston took place in Fiji. Her Twitter account started receiving thousands of notifications on Saturday, when she began live-tweeting to inform friends in New Zealand, the United States and Australia, she said to CNN.
“Everyone’s safe & in the cupboard with a mattress against us. No roof, barely any house, but alive so far Thank God. #TCWinston,” wrote Cayla Tikaram on Twitter Saturday. “Can’t even begin to comprehend how we survived. Every room in the house is shredded to bits,” she added later.
Her story continued after she wrote that her house was not insured and described the situation as surreal. Her neighbours also lost their houses that were mainly built of tin, unlike Tikaram’s house that was made of solid brick and cement.
Hopefully, Cayla Tikaran and her mother Jean Tikaran have received help and water from other neighbours. The girl reporter said that it was so beautiful to see everyone sharing what little they have and added that she loves Fiji, which she described as a “resilient little nation”.