Map of Fiji

Map of Fiji

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Update from Amelie IV: In Fiji Enroute to Nayau - May 28, 2016

Amelie IV
Matthew, Mark, Marie-Claude and Meghan

Quick turnaround at Vanua Balavu. There's nice settled weather here for the next few days so after checking in the Sea Mercy fleet (8 vessels) is taking advantage of the conditions to get out to some of the outer islands to do Needs Assessments (to determine what's needed most on future trips as damage information in some of the islands is limited) and take out some aid materials that had been delivered to Lomaloma for us earlier in the week by a ferry. 

We left Lomaloma in tandem with SV Dreamcatcher (also from Vancouver) around midnight to get to Nayau mid-morning. Unfortunately there's no anchorage at Nayau so we'll leave Amelie IV offshore with MC and Matthew tending her while Meg and I go ashore along with part of Dreamcatcher's crew to meet with the village, do introductions and 'Sevusevu' with the chief, then try to assess what Sea Mercy can do here to help. Hopefully some of the aid we have on board (tools, food, clothing, etc) will be helpful in the short term, but we're interested to find what's also needed longer term. 

At first glance on arrival the damage from Cyclone Winston at Lomaloma was less visually dramatic than expected. Missing roofs on many buildings, trees stripped bare to the trunks, but still more green than we expected.

A discussion with the Health Officer clearing us in though quickly put the human element into perspective. She told us that Vanua Balavu had 5 fatalities the day of the cyclone and they treated over 120 with injuries and had to medivac a few out to Suva with more severe injuries. Walking around later and seeing the damage to housing, water catchment and crops was also sobering, especially when we found that some cleanup had already been done by the Tongan Army and NZ Navy, who came to Vanua Balavu just after Winston to help clear access and restore basic services.

All's well, we'll keep you posted as we go. Sorry for the longer summary today. 

Hope all is well with everyone. 
Amelie IV

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