The remote northern island of Vanua Levu in Fiji was badly damaged in January by Cyclone Yasa, a Category 5 storm. Coastal villages were battered with buildings damaged and crops largely destroyed. Sanitation was compromised, leaving remote villages open to the twin threats of disease and severe food shortages. Global Giving's Disaster Fund has stepped up with a seed grant to help build roofs and shore up structures. Corals for Conservation is also assisting and looking at long-term relief.
The frequency of strong cyclones smashing into the islands of Fiji is frightening. Coastal villages are vulnerable to wind and water damage and require immediate broad relief efforts. Even though there are some private and governmental disaster response programs in Fiji, the demand for help far exceeds the funds and know-how available. Our Corals for Conservation team has travelled to the disaster area and have identified four remote coastal communities in particularly dire circumstances.
The immediate need for building reinforcement will be met and fairly distributed with help from village councils. The rebuilding is performed by the villagers, who arise to serve the elderly and needs of single mothers and their children. Sanitation, food shortages, safe water, means to replant fast-growing crops, and other measures will be taken to ensure food security and prevent illness. If possible, keeping chicken flocks could be encouraged as a way to avoid overfishing coral reefs.
We are supporting local efforts at self sufficiency, as the government has lost its main revenue from the closure of the tourism industry due to the global pandemic. Without govt. funding for the repair and rebuilding of houses and schools, people in the impacted areas are making do by repairing what they can. By C4C providing metal strapping and proper roofing nails, what is rebuilt will be reinforced and more resistant to the next storm. Other interventions will help support food security.