Cyclone Yasa damage to Fiji worth nearly $US250m

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Cyclone Yasa caused an estimated loss of almost $US250 million to infrastructure, livelihoods and agriculture, Fiji’s government said.

The category five storm left four people dead and thousands homeless when it hit the country in December.

Rebuilding of education facilities damaged by Cyclone Yasa underway in Fiji.

Rebuilding of education facilities damaged by Cyclone Yasa underway in Fiji. Photo: Fiji government

Speaking in Parliament, the Disaster Management Minister Inia Seruiratu said about 139,000 people and 31,000 households were directly affected by the super storm.

Seruiratu said more than 8000 homes were destroyed.

He said the education sector was also impacted with more than 90 schools damaged across the country.

The minister said the health sector had recorded extensive damage to 25 of its facilities in Macuata, Cakaudrove, Bua and Taveuni.

“Despite these challenges, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services continued to work against the odds to ensure basic health services were still available to affected Fijians,” he said.

Seruiratu said after the detailed damage assessment by the Agriculture Ministry, the total damage bill for the sector was recorded at more than $US72.5m.

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He said this included 94 percent damage to the crops, 5.4 percent to livestock and 6 percent on the infrastructure.

He said considering the huge loss suffered in the sector, Fijians living in areas severely affected by Yasa could expect to face more challenges to food security.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, right, and Minister for Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, right, and Minister for Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu. Photo: Fiji govt

NZ relief assistance

Meanwhile, another batch of supplies arrived in Fiji from New Zealand last Friday.

The consignment included more than 12 tonnes of relief items to assist the Fijian communities following the aftermath of both cyclones Yasa and Ana.

NZ High Commissioner to Fiji, Jonathan Curr, said the supplies comprised of water purification tablets, water pumps, defoggers, water bladders, collapsible water containers, family hygiene kits, mother and infant kits and tarpaulins.

Curr handed over the supplies to Minister Seruiratu, who thanked NZ for other donations given in the past few months towards Fiji’s relief efforts.

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He said this assistance was received through multiple modalities including the deployment of emergency humanitarian relief supplies from NZ, the aerial assessment support, the quick fix and repairs to Commissioner Northern’s warehouse and health facilities in the North, cash assistance through the Prime Minister’s Relief and Rehabilitation Trust Account and other aid channelled through civil society and non-government partners.

“We are undoubtedly living in extraordinary times of Covid-19 coupled with more frequent and intense natural disasters, which requires substantial level of cooperation and meaningful partnerships. I must reiterate the Fijian Government’s utmost appreciation to the people and Government of New Zealand for assisting us hand in hand during such challenging times,” Seruiratu said.

“The destruction of TC Yasa had stretched our meagre resources to the limit and the humanitarian needs on the ground elevated again due to the recent devastation caused by TC Ana.”

Curr said another Royal NZ Air Force flight would arrive in Fiji with more relief items for affected Fijians.

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