ShelterBox Response Teams are working across Fiji to provide shelter for families after Cyclone Winston, the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere.
The storm hit on 20 February, bringing torrential rain, wind speeds of 200 mph, and 40ft waves to the country’s 330 islands. The sheer force of the storm has obliterated up to 90% of structures and left an estimated 120,000 people without shelter.
On the island of Makogai, the villagers put on life jackets and sheltered in their homes as the winds gathered speed. As the houses began to tear apart, schoolteacher Sakaraia Balebuca and his family decided to hide underneath their raised brick floor.
As Sakaria moved to crawl under the house, one of the walls broke and crashed into him. Without the lifejacket he was wearing, Sakaria would have been crushed. More people joined the family under the brick floor until more than 40 villagers, including children and mothers with infants, were all hiding together.
When a ShelterBox response team arrived, they found the whole village sheltering in the only four buildings left standing.
Thanks to prepositioned stock in Fiji itself, as well as New Zealand and Australia, our ShelterBox response teams have already been able to deliver tents and ShelterBoxes to families on six remote islands, including Makogai. To reach these islands, we have teamed up with Sea Mercy; a charity that uses a network of luxury yachts to deliver aid and medical expertise in the South Pacific.
More aid is on its way, including 2,000 solar lights that will provide light and safety to communities without power, but it’s not enough.
There are still many tiny islands too remote to have yet received help. We need your support to send another 2,000 ShelterBoxes to reach these communities and give people like Sakaria comfort and safety.