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.

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:

There is now a very experienced management team, including three former general managers of Naitauba, working long hours each day to keep up with the multi-faceted Naitauba relief process. Many others are helping in all kinds of ways. It is so wonderful for all of us to feel the depth of response and support that Naitauba is receiving in this moment. There is the most incredible outpouring of financial offerings and people volunteering to go to the Island and help.
We want to say that our hearts go out to the families of those who lost their loved ones across the Fiji Islands. We were so fortunate in this regard at Naitauba. It is utterly overwhelming to see the aerial images from of destruction in the other islands in the path of the cyclone. There is going to have to be an immense relief effort to help these people. Please continue to pray for their well-being and that they get the necessary help soon.
Thank you so much for your overwhelmingly wonderful response to the initial fundraising for Naitauba cyclone relief. When we connected by satellite phone with Michiel Vos, the principal administrator on Naitauba, this afternoon, he was ecstatic—deeply grateful to all who contributed. It makes such a difference for the residents of the Island to feel our collective support. Everyone obviously gave all they could. What a great day!
The following are notes from a conversation this afternoon on a very weak satellite phone connection with Michiel Vos, the principal administrator on Naitauba. Please note, the situation with regard to damage assessment is constantly changing as Naitauba residents gain access to various buildings and locations around the Island that are presently cut off by fallen trees.
Cyclone Winston approximately 150 miles west of Vita Levu on 20 February
Michiel Vos, the principal administrator on Naitauba, managed to reach Roger Tonkin at our Suva administrative and shipping office at 7.35pm PST today, and passed on the following on a very bad satellite phone connection (there is no internet at this point, and may not be for a while):
“Everyone, including all our Fijian and other local staff members are safe, which is a great relief!”
The winds are still very strong so only a couple of people have ventured out to assess the situation.
atest map from the Fiji website with Naitauba location indicated.  This map is from 11 am PST on 19 February 2016..

August 27, 2013

We are very happy to announce our new website “The Naitauba Reef Preservation Initiative” to chronicle our work to carry out Adi Da’s admonition to monitor the state of Naitauba’s extraordinary and beautiful coral reef, and to do what can be done to preserve it, protect it, and help support its well-being.