Cyclone Evan recovery efforts continue in Fiji and Samoa
15 December, 2012
Assessing the damage caused by Cyclone Evan in Samoa. Photo: AusAID
No. 1 Airfield Operations Support Squadron personnel begin loading pallets of emergency supplies onto a C-17A Globemaster, which delivered the items to cyclone ravaged Fiji. Photo: Department of Defence
Updated 4 January: It was a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons for thousands of families caught up in the devastation of Cyclone Evan in Fiji and Samoa.
Many families who sought shelter from the cyclone in evacuation centres have since returned home to find houses and food crops destroyed, severe flooding and vital infrastructure damaged.
The Fiji and Samoa governments have begun clean-up and recovery efforts with the support of the international community.
AusAID staff in Fiji, Samoa and Australia helped coordinate the humanitarian response during the crisis, providing much-needed supplies, funding and logistical support to efforts to protect life and property.
Relief supplies were transported from Australia by the Australian Defence Force within a few days of the cyclone passing over the Pacific countries.
The AusAID relief supplies carried by the RAAF aircraft included nearly 2,000 hygiene kits, more than 5,500 tarpaulins, 1,100 shelter kits, 9,500 blankets, more than 7,000 water containers and buckets, 5,600 insect nets and more than 1.3 million water purification tablets.
In all, using RAAF C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules aircraft, the ADF moved nearly 70,000 kilograms of AusAID relief stores to the storm-ravaged nations. A Qantas jet was also used to carry supplies from Australia.
AusAID staff have witnessed extensive damage during aerial assessments of the Fiji countryside. The Red Cross reports that about 10 per cent of houses in Korovou Village are destroyed, dozens of schools have been damaged and serious flooding remains a problem in the Central Division.
Early assessments confirm the need for a major recovery operation, likely to focus on rehabilitation and cyclone-proofing damaged homes and schools, food security recovery and further humanitarian support.
In Samoa, five people died and 11 remain missing.
As of 31 December 2012, an estimated 800 people across Samoa were still in evacuation centres, down from around 4,600. The Government of Samoa has reported almost 700 houses were completely destroyed, while almost 1,000 were damaged, affecting more than 12,700 people. Electricity and water is still being restored. In Upolu, full services are not expected to be restored until the end of January 2013, significantly affecting the community’s ability to restart their lives.
The supply of clean and safe drinking water remains a major issue in both countries and AusAID is helping by providing fresh water and purification tablets.
In Fiji, the economic impact of the cyclone is expected to be more than $40 million (FJ$75 million). As of 28 December 2012, more than 1,200 people remained in evacuation centres. Fiji’s areas worst-affected by the cyclone include Kia, Nagaloa and Yadua islands in the North, and the tourist areas of Yasawas and Lautoka. Finding housing for those who have lost their homes is considered the most important need.
Australia has committed an initial $1 million each to Fiji and Samoa in emergency assistance and relief supplies and AusAID will continue to support the Fiji and Samoa governments into the new year.
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Last Reviewed: 4 January, 2013