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Red Cross launches international appeal to scale up emergency assistance in Fiji for communities devastated by Cyclone Winston

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March 1, 2016. Suva/Geneva. As the scale of Tropical Cyclone Winston’s impact on Fiji becomes more apparent, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today launched a seven million Swiss Franc (USD 7 million, Euro 6.4 million) international appeal to raise funds to support the ongoing emergency response efforts of the Fiji Red Cross Society.

The appeal will provide support to 38,500 people living in areas of the country that were most severely affected by the cyclone. Relief materials including essential items such as blankets, jerry cans, clothing and kitchen sets will be distributed together with tools and tarpaulins that will enable people to make emergency repairs to their homes. The Red Cross will make sure that communities have access to clean water and measures will be taken to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Addressing the psychological trauma of survivors will also be a priority and the Fiji Red Cross will continue its efforts to reconnect families who have lost contact due to the disaster through their Restoring Family Links service.

More than 300 Fiji Red Cross staff and volunteers have been mobilised, and emergency response teams have reached over 16,600 people to assess their needs. These teams have targeted the worst hit communities, particularly those on remote island groups that were directly in the path of the cyclone. So far, relief supplies from the Red Cross have been distributed to more than 6,300 people.

“The Fiji Red Cross Society has been extremely fast in their response. They had volunteers and pre-positioned relief supplies ready to go when the disaster struck, but the needs on the ground mean that we have to raise more resources to support a sustained relief and recovery operation that will continue over the next twelve months”, said Xavier Castellanos, Regional Director for the IFRC.

The Fiji Government estimates that almost 350,000 people – over one third of the country’s population – could have been affected by the category five storm. Damage to homes and local infrastructure has been extensive, with thousands of people still sheltering in evacuation shelters across the island archipelago. There has also been severe damage to agriculture with 100 per cent crop damage reported in some areas.

“The emergency appeal will enable us to scale up our response. Entire villages have been devastated and people are in a state of shock. We are responding to their immediate needs now and will help them through the weeks and months ahead to rebuild their lives”, said Filipe Nainoca, Director General of Fiji Red Cross Society.

For further information and to arrange interviews with Red Cross spokespeople, please contact:

In Suva:

· Joe Cropp, Spokesman, IFRC

Mobile: +61 448 571 484 Email Twitter: @joecropp

· Soneel Ram, Dissemination and Communications Officer, Fiji Red Cross Society

Mobile: +679 908 5392 Email Twitter: @soneelram

  • Navinesh Kumar, Communications & Advocacy Manager, IFRC Suva Office

Mobile: +679 999 1226 Email: Twitter: @NavinKumarRam

In Kuala Lumpur:

  • Patrick Fuller, communications manager, Asia Pacific, IFRC

Mobile : +60 122 308 451 E-mail :

In Geneva:

  • Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications

Mobile: +41792132413 E-mail: Twitter: @BenoistC

For updates on Twitter follow @IFRCAsiaPacific @Federation @FijiRedCross Hashtags #TCWinston #CycloneWinston