Cyclone Winston News Updates

Naitauba Update, May 2018

 

 

The village of Ciqomi on Naitauba Island in Fiji houses about 28 employee families. Most of the families have children in kindergarten or primary school. During tropical cyclone Winston in February 2016, the kindergarten lost its roof and the primary school suffered serious damage to its roof and lost its veranda.

After the cyclone, a new school was designed to withstand category 5 cyclones. The reinforced all-concrete buildings also serve as safe shelter during future cyclones for the entire staff and families of Ciqomi village.

Clearing of the land began in December 2016. Local workers and Canadian volunteers laid the foundations and floor in early 2017. The new buildings are three times larger than the old school, with four classrooms, a library, an office for teachers, and a water tank. The opening ceremony in May 2018 included a ribbon-cutting, sacred Blessing of the buildings, tours, mekes, and a lovo feast for everyone from both villages Qaravi and as well as Ciqomi.
 

Things are very much in a positive recovery and restoration mode at Naitauba Island now, despite the fact that many things we take for granted are still not working and they continue to be surrounded by devastation on all sides.

Storm debris at the Matrix complex on Naitauba.
The following letter was sent from Amy McCarrel to the residents of Naitauba. Amy lives and farms on Taveuni Island, one of the three main islands of Fiji and approximately 36 miles from Naitauba by boat.
 
Hello all,  
 
The following letter was sent from Amy McCarrel to the residents of Naitauba. Amy lives and farms on Taveuni Island, one of the three main islands of Fiji and approximately 36 miles (60kms) from Naitauba by boat.
 
Hello friends,
Aerial photograph of destruction to the farm on Naitauba

The recovery effort is proceeding on many fronts. Running water has been restored in several locations. Power is still out in many places. Telecommunications is out, except for what can be done on a satellite phone. Those displaced by the cyclone are in temporary housing. Particularly in Ciqomi, the Fijian village, the temporary accommodations are very crowded. But there is little or no complaint from anyone. Everyone is helping with the recovery effort and the spirit of sacrifice and cooperation is felt by all.

We are hearing first-hand accounts of the scale of the disaster in the wake of Cyclone Winston in the north part of the main island of Viti Levu. Several townships have been almost completely destroyed. A friend went to Rakiraki and found that people were drinking dirty water and sleeping in bus shelters. It is a similar story in other places. The full scale of the disaster is only now becoming apparent as communications are being gradually restored throughout the archipelago. The death toll remains at 42, although that figure is expected to rise.

The Sea Rakino, a ship out of Suva, was due to arrive late this morning at Naitauba. It has a huge relief shipment consisting of over 300 boxes, roofing iron, timber and so forth.

Today at 12 noon local time a ship called the Sea Rakino was scheduled to leave the capital of Fiji, Suva. It is heading to Northern Lau, in the eastern part of Fiji. Its first stop, in 24 hours or so, will be the island of Naitauba. It will then travel on to other islands in the Lau group. It is bringing a huge load of equipment, tools, medical supplies, food, and other necessities.

We received the following words via satellite phone from one of the volunteers who arrived on Naitauba yesterday, Stanley Hastings:

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