Photo: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response/Jeff Schmaltz
Families in Fiji Prepare for Impacts of Category 5 Cyclone Winston, Most Powerful Storm to Hit the Island Nation Since Records Began
Washington, D.C. (February 20, 2016) — Cyclone Winston made landfall on the main island of Fiji today with estimated top wind speeds of 195 miles per hour. It is thought to be the strongest storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, and initially made landfall on the island of Vitu Levu. The cyclone is reported to have caused flash flooding on the nation’s outer islands, including Vanua Levu.
In advance of the storm the Fijian government issued a list of 758 evacuation centers across the nation where people could take shelter, and they have now announced a state of emergency. The damage caused by the cyclone is yet to be ascertained, but it has been reported that local authorities have deployed assessment teams to the affected areas.
Save the Children has stockpiled emergency supplies to ensure children can get back to school as soon as possible. This includes school bags, classroom kits and child friendly spaces kits for evacuation centers if schools are damaged.
"This mega-storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage across Fiji, an island nation frequented by hundreds of thousands of holiday-goers every year," Save the Children Fiji CEO Iris Low-McKenzie said.
"We’re extremely concerned about the impact this will have on children, who are particularly vulnerable during emergencies," said Ms. Low-McKenzie. "We have teams standing by to assess the storm damage, as well as teachers preparing to support children in emergency centers."
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
We’ll be in touch! By signing up to receive emails from Save the Children you will receive a subscription to our monthly eNews, access to breaking emergency alerts and opportunities to get involved. To ensure delivery of Save the Children emails to your inbox, add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contact list.