02 March 2016

School’s out: Cyclone Winston impacts education

Adi Dokoni, kindergarten teacher from Navitilevu village, with her daughters
 © UNICEF Pacific/2016/Sokhin
By Cifora Monier

Adi Dokoni, a 42 year old mother of three and a kindergarten teacher in Navitilevu village, Fiji, tells her children to be careful while they run around the debris left behind by Cyclone Winston. “Everything is damaged; our house and our crops,” she says watching her children move away from the sharp corrugated metal that lays on the ground broken and twisted by the storm.

“There is no school for the time being and we still have to rebuild our houses,” says Adi. “We don’t know how long it will take us. We don’t have money because the food we’d usually sell from our crops has been destroyed. That was our only way of getting money.”

26 February 2016

Fiji after Cyclone Winston: “I told my family to leave everything”

Tiloko, his wife Leba and their children
© UNICEF Pacific/2016/Sokhin
By Neisau Tuidraki, UNICEF Pacific

In Yaqeta village, Yasawa Islands, 39-year-old Leba sits on a mat in the place where her family house stood, before it was destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Winston. She is joined by her husband Tiloko and their five children Adi, Makereta, Emosi, Waisake and Vasemasa, aged from 16 to just one.

“On the night of the cyclone we all stayed at home,” Leba says. “The wind got stronger and stronger, and then the breadfruit tree fell on top of our house and destroyed it.”

24 February 2016

Families in Fiji pick up the pieces after Cyclone Winston

Tuvosa, 3, with his mother Kalisi, in their ruined home
© UNICEF Pacific/2016/Sokhin 
Natural disasters like Cyclone Winston in Fiji have the biggest impact on children, who are among the most vulnerable members of society. This was certainly the case for 3-year-old Tuvosa (pictured above) when the cyclone tore his family's house apart, on Viti Levu island. "We lost everything," his mother Kalisi says. "We don't have a house, and there is no food. During the cyclone me, mum and Tuvosa were hiding under the bed. My husband was holding the wall."

"When my soon realised what had happened to our house, he cried," she continues. "Since the cyclone, he has not been the same. Every time he comes back home he cries. He barely talks to us. I think it has really affected him."

Tropical Cyclone Winston leaves homes and lives shattered across Fiji

Makereta Nasiki, 13, sits in her now flooded bedroom
UNICEF Pacific/2016/Sokhin
By Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific Islands

As Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston left Fiji on Sunday, thousands of families were braced for the after effects, including searching for loved ones, returning to and in some cases rebuilding their homes and beginning the huge task of clean up and reconstruction.

The most devastating natural disaster to hit Fiji in recorded history left no one untouched. All parts of the country experienced strong winds, tidal surges, flooding, power cuts and/or water cuts. Everywhere, children were among the most vulnerable and affected.

UNICEF spoke to children and their families across the country to understand the impact of the Cyclone on their lives.

22 February 2016

Cyclone Winston: children react to the devastation

Communities across Fiji have been devastated by the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere and children will be among those hardest hit. Tropical Cyclone Winston has flattened entire villages with wind gusts in excess of 320 km/h and devastating storm surges and rains.

UNICEF has begun assisting those most affected. There are an estimated 400,000 people, including around 165,000 children, affected by the cyclone. Thousands of homes have been damaged. Hospitals, schools and water supplies have been hit hard, while damage to crops and livestock has cut off families’ food and livelihoods.

Some young Fijians share early accounts of the aftermath after a terrifying night sheltering from Cyclone Winston.