Cyclone Winston devastated Fiji in February of 2016. Sea Mercy was immediately ready to respond and was tasked by the government with Disaster Response and Recovery for the remote islands in the Lau Group. The information in this blog will keep you up-to-date on our actions and their impact on the communities we are helping. Your continued support will be essential during the long-term recovery process so we will also list current donation and volunteer opportunities here. Thank you!!
Map of Fiji
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Powerful Report on Sea Mercy Visit to Navuniivi Village, Ra District, Viti Levu
Navuniivi Village and the nearby settlement of NamoNamo are
located on Viti Levu Bay in the Ra District on the main island of Viti Levu and
experienced the eye of Winston passing over them. Viti Levu Bay is located just below Rakiraki on the map above.
DR1 Status Report: Navuniivi Village and
By Per Eliassoni on
18 April 2016
We are good, thank you.
We are a bit tired of the bad weather though. Had some 40 knots of wind from
TD17F and lots of rain two nights ago and the rain kept creeping in through the
hull from the holes and cracks we have since Winston.
Since the weather was
what it was, we focused on Navuniivi village in Viti Levu Bay. The
village had only 32 out of 73 houses standing (but all with damages) and the
nearby settlement NamoNamo had only one out of 10 houses that made it. Viti
Levu Bay had the eye of Winston and trees had fallen in three directions.
Witness reports said that the wind first came from one side and then turned and
hit them from the opposite side. The warnings before came very late and also
people said they didn't understand what a "category 5" cyclone was.
They had heard of knots and understood what that meant, but not categories, and
in the warning there was a lot of talks around categories they say. This all
resulted in many people, within an hour or two of the strike, still out doing
their chores and then had to rush to their shelters when wind picked up,
without having a chance of securing their own houses.
Their newly built
cyclone shelter, the Community hall, lost part of its roof early, as did the
church, in the cyclone when a whole building hit it. All the villagers that
were in there then had to move down to a small room below, flooding with water,
and winds trying to burst the door and walls bulging by the force. Six hours
they had to spend in this hell hole, with screaming kids and crying and
terrified mothers and fathers. The trauma from this incident seems to be worst
with the little older kids in age 7-15 (appx) and the women. When we arrived we
met a low and sad crowd of people. The days after, they received some well
needed professional help sent out by the government. This will take months if
not years to handle for some.
Damaged Community Center
Do you see the lady at the base of these tree roots?
We did a clinic there
with health checks. There is no nursery in the village but they have one
person, Lai, that helps people with first aid. We gave them a blood pressure
barometer that we found at the warehouse, and Jan taught Lai how to use it and
what to make of the readings. We also gave some basic medical supplies (band
aid, soap, aspirin, etc.) to Lai. We helped the villagers to try out new
reading glasses. The glasses were very popular since they lost everything in
the cyclone and they happily yelled out "I CAN SEE". We also dropped
off clothes, shoes, food, cooking oil and salt (they will not be able to get
anything from their gardens for at least 2-4 months and were very happy to get
some food), hygienic articles and six tarps (should have brought more tarps,
they still haven't good roofs on their temporary buildings).
The good thing is that
now it seems like the other help organizations and the government are coming up
to speed. This Friday they had a visit from one of the governmental medical
teams, with a doctor, midwife and nurse bringing necessary medicine. Today a
governmental organization was coming to do a big assessment for the rebuilding
of the village (planned to start in May with help from the engineer troops).
We could have brought so
much more to these people but now at least it feels like they are getting
looked after. Having talked to the people from the medical team, it seems like
this is becoming more and more true for all the affected areas, which feels
really good to hear. Now it is time for rebuilding.
One thing this village
will need, is funding to rebuild their Community hall/cyclone shelter and
church which originally has been funded by themselves. They also would
need funding for solar panels and electricity generation for the village. They
paid the government a year ago to get a cable to the village and electricity
installed in May/June this year, but now they have been informed that the electricity
project has been delayed 2-3 years due to Winston.
They have been running
an old genset a few hours every night before, to be able to run some lights,
but the genset broke during Winston. It would be great if it could be possible
to replace that genset and also add some batteries, solar panels, a charger and
inverter. Is this something that would be possible to do through Sea