Updates on Oxfam’s response to the Cyclone Yasa emergency
19 DEC 2020
Cyclone Yasa exits Fiji territorial waters
Tropical Cyclone Yasa has exited Fiji territorial waters and is tracking south-south east.
Initial estimates indicate that the impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasa was more localised than initially expected. An estimated 93,000 Fijians are believed to have been affected by the storm, roughly 10% of the population. Tragically, two fatalities have so far been reported.
Assessment teams are currently en route to affected regions, and initial reporting out of affected communities indicate that shelter will be a priority for the response, with many homes damaged or destroyed. Major health centres are reported to be up and running.
We are positioned to respond with a focus on water, sanitation and hygiene interventions to prevent disease outbreaks due to flooding, contaminated water supplies and damage sanitation. Infrastructure will also be a priority concern.
18 DEC 2020
Cyclone Yasa makes landfall
The worst of the storm has passed off the south-eastern coast of Vanua Levu, moving away from the main Fiji islands.
Suva is no longer in the immediate path of the storm. Strong winds and heavy rains will continue through the night however, with smaller eastern outer island groups still in Yasa’s immediate path.
Close to its centre the cyclone is still a major hazard with average winds up to 240 km/hr and momentary gusts to 345 km/hr. The cyclone is moving southeast at about 18 km/hr.
Initial media reports indicate “a scene of devastation is slowly starting to emerge, even if it is not as expansive as may have been earlier feared (RNZ).” A state of emergency has been declared.
The storm did move faster than predicted, leaving less time to cause as much damage as was initially feared. However, an estimated 600,000 of Fiji’s population lays in the path of Cyclone Yasa and communities are reporting widespread damage to homes, landslides blocking roads, coastal and surface flooding in low-lying areas, and damaged crops and fruit trees.
We are contacting partners to refresh contingency plans and response preparedness. Project teams engaged with partners as part of the ongoing AHP COVID programming are also involved in planning.
We will assess the extent of any damage and prepare to respond with a focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, cash and protection.
17 Dec 2020
Cyclone Yasa tracks for Fiji
Tropical Cyclone Yasa, top of the scale category 5 storm, has been circling the Fiji to Vanuatu waters for the past couple of weeks.
The system is huge and slow moving, and constantly changing its projected track. It is now expected to hit Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, later tonight or early Friday morning.
The system is a large one bringing with it a lot of rainfall and so a number of flood warnings have been issued to low-lying areas.
Oxfam has been in touch with its humanitarian partners, activating its processes of emergency preparedness. The Emergency Management Team (EMT) is on the ready to convene in order to quickly assess the suitability of capacities of its partners, government and stakeholders, on the ground in relation to the extent of damage. We have a small contingency stock that can be quickly dispersed to partners as soon as practically possible, soon after the event.
How you can help our response in Fiji
When emergencies strike, like the unfolding situation in Fiji, Oxfam is there, on the ground, providing life-saving food, clean water, shelter, hygiene kits, cash assistance and other essential items. But we can’t do this without your vital support.