What we're doing to help

Through our local partners we're helping to meet the urgent needs of the poorest and most vulnerable families

Your donation to will help us:
  • Provide basic necessities such as water, food, temporary shelter and emotional support. 
  • Protect women and children from sexual exploitation
  • Rebuild communities to be more resilient to future disasters

Please help us to provide emergency supplies, comfort and hope to these families.


Where Tearfund is currently responding in Viti Levu:
Seven communities in four locations
Where we are working Fiji map
Note: Locations may change as we continue to access the damage and needs of communities. 
  • $30

    will provide a water filter

  • $85

    will provide counselling, emotional support and child protection for one household (approx. 2-3 Families)

  • $110

    will provide an emergency food pack for one family

  • $295

    will provide an emergency family pack food, water, blankets and infant clothing & nappies

 

The above amounts are indicators of what your support could accomplish

Firoz Ali and his wife survived the night in their concrete bathroom

Cyclone Winston hit Fiji as a Category 5 Cyclone on February 20, destroying 55,000 homes, killling 44 people and directly impacting a further 350,000. 

“When the wind came we heard the tin ripping off the timber. We ran into the bathroom, and then the whole house fell down. All our property is ruined. The next day we looked for our roof but we can’t find it anywhere. We have nowhere to go.” –Firoz Ali

Please donate generously today to help those devastated by Cyclone Winston.

$
Note: If funds raised exceed Tearfund’s funding requirements for this appeal, your gift will go to our General Disaster Fund for future disaster response and preparedness.
  • 55,000

    houses were damaged or destroyed

  • Over 1500

    people helped to date

  • 350,000

    Urgently need emergency supplies

  • 1400

    sheltering in evacuation centres. Reduced from 56,000 within the last few weeks.

  • 350,000

    people were affected (roughly 40% of the population)

  • 80% to 100%

    of property is destroyed where the eye of Cyclone Winston hit

How you can help

When a disaster strikes and we see news of devastation it's understandable to want to help. It's important to help in the right way so the response can be as effective as possible. We strongly recommend New Zealanders give cash, not goods.
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Resources


Update – April 6th. We’re monitoring the flooding and Tropical Cyclone Zena

Wednesday, 06 April 2016 — Phil Botha

Our thoughts are with the people of Fiji who have been affected by flooding and are now facing Tropical Cyclone Zena (category 2 or 3) ...

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Our thoughts are with the people of Fiji who have been affected by flooding and are now facing Tropical Cyclone Zena (category 2 or 3), forecast to pass through Fiji today. We’re keeping a close eye on the situation and our partners on the ground continue to help people rebuild their livelihoods in the wake of Cyclone Winston.

Update – March 29th: With initial emergency responses well underway, we're planning longer-term support with partners.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 — John Watson

With initial emergency responses well underway, Tearfund is also working with partners to plan for longer-term support to recovery. This is likely to include shelter and psycho-social support.

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Tearfund_Winston_March_29_2016.jpgWith initial emergency responses well underway, Tearfund is also working with partners to plan for longer-term support to recovery. This is likely to include shelter and psycho-social support.

Our partner C3 Church Lautoka has distributed food and other essential items to affected households in Lovu settlement. So far this has included food for 56 families, water purifiers for 20 families, kerosene stoves 10 families, tarpaulins for 12 families, clothes for 40 families, and hygiene packs for 30 families.

Our partner Ola Fou have completed further distributions of emergency relief packs to two additional communities: Nakorovou (33 households) and Nacekoro (31 households). These distributions were supported with funding from TEAR Australia via Tearfund NZ, and followed on from the earlier distributions in the Western Division of Fiji where 63 emergency relief packs were delivered to Vunato and 37 to Maururu communities.

Ola Fou this week is expanding its response to include provision of counselling services in four communities where high levels of trauma have been reported.

Several Integral Alliance members are supporting Tearfund NZ’s Winston response. C3 New Zealand and Australia have also decided to put their appeal funds for C3 Lautoka, in Fiji, through Tearfund NZ. Pastor Michael of C3 Lautoka reports this will be a great help, as the level of need for items such as tarpaulins for use in shelter exceeds the amount they have been able to supply.

Our partner Homes of Hope have reached 97 families and a further 66 women with emergency relief. This included 73 assorted food packs and clothes and 18 bags of assorted clothing and bedding.

Update - March 23: Tearfund's partners continuing to respond

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 — John Watson

Tearfund's three partners are continuing to actively respond, distributing emergency relief supplies and working in at-risk communities. 

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Our partner Ola Fou are well underway with phase one of a two phase response, with 100 families provided so far with two week's worth of food. They're continuing to work closely with the Fijian government, raising issues they are seeing on the ground. Phase two plans - supporting the longer term recovery of villages - are being finalised. 

Our partner C3 continue to distribute emergency items and have completed a detailed house asessment in Lovu to indentify areas of greatetst need. 

Our partner, Homes of Hope, continue to work in at-risk communities to prevent sexual exploitation. 

Meanwhile, the NZ government has shifted its response from immediate aid to recovery.

Update – March 10th: 63 food packages delivered to Vunato settlement

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 — Phil Botha

Our partner has distributed emergency relief supplies to the people of Vunato, a squatter settlement on the edge of Lautoka city in the West of Fiji.

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Ola-Fou-collage-Tearfund-Cyclone-Winston.jpg

Our partner has distributed emergency relief supplies to the people of Vunato, an informal settlement on the edge of Lautoka city in the West of Fiji.

Vunato was severely impacted by Cyclone Winston as, on top of the damage to housing caused by the high winds, much of the community experienced flooding after the cyclone.

The settlement is bordered by a rubbish dump on one side (between the community and the sea) so when it floods, the rubbish pours into the community.

63 emergency food packages were distributed thanks to your generous donations. As well as providing emergency relief, our partner is planning to support Vunato in their longer-term recovery.

They are now off to do a distribution in Maururu, the community where only four of the 37 houses weren't destroyed. 

Please donate generously today so we can continue to help these communities recover.
 

Update – March 3rd: Tearfund working through partners to deliver aid

Friday, 04 March 2016 — John Watson

Tearfund is working to provide aid to affected communities through three partners: Ola Fou, C3 Church and Homes of Hope. The international community is being urged by the UN and the Fijian Government to give generously to provide aid to the 350,000 people affected. 

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Tearfund is working to provide aid to affected communities through three partners: Ola Fou, C3 Church and Homes of Hope. The international community is being urged by the UN and the Fijian Government to give generously to provide aid to the 350,000 people affected.

All Tearfund staff are back from Fiji now but continue to work through local partners to provide emergency items, as well as clothing and counselling support. In some communities our partners are helping to rebuild homes to be more resilient to future events.

Our partner Homes of Hope are also working to prevent the sexual exploitation of women and children, who are more vulnerable to this immediately after a disaster. 

The Fijian Government and the United Nations have estimated $38.6 million is needed to provide humanitarian assistance to the 350,000 people (40% of the population) affected by Cyclone Winston, and are urging people to give generously. The FIjian government estimated damages to cost more than US $500 million. 

Tearfund continues to appeal for funds to meet this huge need. 

In our last post we wrote about Paul Koto, who was worried about his family. We're happy to tell you that Paul was able to make contact with his family, who are safe. 

Update – Feb 24: Stories from the field

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 — Phil Botha

Paul Koto still hasn’t heard from his family. He’s worried because they live in the Lau group of Islands between Fiji and Tonga that Cyclone Winton passed over. His words were softly spoken from a large and heavy heart.

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Paul Koto still hasn’t heard from his family. He’s worried because they live in the Lau group of Islands between Fiji and Tonga that Cyclone Winton passed over. His words were softly spoken from a large and heavy heart.

“We are still recovering from Cyclone Ula, and then Cyclone Winston hit. We were the first island in Fiji to receive Christianity. I don’t understand. I don’t understand how this could happen to us.”

We were sat parked in a hire car, about to visit Vunato, a poor and vulnerable community he has been working in with our Partner Ola Fou. Despite his concern for his family, he had been working tirelessly to help affected communities before and ever since the cyclone hit.

Rounding the corner, all-too familiar sights came into view. Tin roofs and walls ripped off, some houses completely destroyed. There was one house still standing strong; a house Paul helped to rebuild after Cyclone Evan. He stood in front of it as I took his photo.

Paul is one of many people desperate to hear from his family. I overheard a helicopter charter pilot saying that a man was paying him $7000 to hire a helicopter until his family were found.

As the days pass since the most severe recorded storm in the southern hemisphere hit Fiji, it’s become clearer where the worst hit areas are. This man’s family were likely from the North, or one of the islands above Viti Levu that the eye of the storm passed directly over.

In a meeting with Western Region Government officials this morning, they told us they had directed the majority of the aid effort to Rakiraki, a district in the North that had been devastated “to zero”. Our partner Ola Fou are working there, but had been unable to get to it because the roads are impassable. A 30-man team were assembled to visit by foot today.

Aid is starting to roll out to accessible areas. Litiana Kuru and her family in the evacuation centre would be receiving one week’s food and water today, as would the Lovu settlement.

Urgent needs now are tarpaulins, chainsaws, generators, shelter, jerry cans, and water containers. Aid organizations have been asked by the Fiji government to help provide these items, so Tearfund will be working to source these items locally and deliver them to the seven communities we’re working in across Fiji.

It’s my last night before I fly back to New Zealand. Reflecting on all I’ve seen in the last three days, of all the destruction and the stories of loss I’ve heard, there’s one scene etched in my memory.

I was visiting a small supermarket I had found open to buy a bottle of water. In front of the shelf of water was an old man standing there just staring at it. He motioned weakly to his granddaughter who was standing looking at tinned food. My heart broke. I don’t know why. But when I replay that scene in my head, tears come to my eyes.
–John Watson

Update – Feb 23: Stories from the field

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 — Phil Botha

Yesterday I visited destroyed homes in the informal settlement of Lovu which is home to some 1500 people. I saw more destroyed homes today.

Moniama Siva was sitting in her wheelchair in what was her lounge, or maybe bedroom, except the walls and roof had gone. She had lost her leg to diabetes, and her daughter had died around a year ago, leaving her with two grandsons to look after. They were preparing a breadfruit they had found for lunch.

John-Tearfund-helping-Fiji.jpg

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John-Tearfund-helping-Fiji.jpg

Yesterday I visited destroyed homes in the informal settlement of Lovu which is home to so me 1500 people. I saw more destroyed homes today.

Moniama Siva was sitting in her wheelchair in what was her lounge, or maybe bedroom, except the walls and roof had gone. She had lost her leg to diabetes, and her daughter had died around a year ago, leaving her with two grandsons to look after. They were preparing a breadfruit they had found for lunch.

“When the big strong wind came my grandchildren were crying in the house,” she said. “We ran next door to our neighbours. When we returned, everything was wet and our roof was gone. I worry about my grandsons and their future. I would like a stronger house now so when a hurricane comes we can be safe.”

I went to visit Mohammad again; wondering how he had fared last night. He wasn’t there, but he had rebuilt a small corner of his house, just like he said he would, by erecting a crude corrugated iron shed. It cheered me up a little as I imagined him in there last night during the rain rather than in his car without windows.

Pastor Michael told me that fire trucks were now delivering water to places like Lovu. It was a good reminder that Lautoka isn’t the worst-affected area.

Reports are coming in that the badly-affected areas in the North West and North East are a lot worse than initially expected; and that’s saying something. My colleague Alice told me she visited a community where only four of the 37 houses were left standing.

As I drove north to an evacuation centre, the damage seemed to increase around me. A teenage boy stood on his roof looking aimlessly down the road. The roof was on the road, without a house beneath it.

Litiana Kuru was helping to prepare a coconut for four families when I arrived. They had three pumpkins ready for dinner that night, and then there would be a hopeful but anxious wait until food aid and water arrived. A blue barrel sat outside that had collected rainwater; it was running low. “We think water will come tomorrow or the day after that. Once water starts running again we will go back home,” she said.

Tomorrow I’m visiting a community that our partner Ola Fou is working in. I hope Litiana and her family get to go home. I hope they still have a home.
–John Watson

Update – Feb 22: Latest from Fiji: Tearfund Communication’s Officer, John Watson

Monday, 22 February 2016 — Phil Botha

“The first sign of damage was the absence of our driver at the airport. We heard later he was trapped behind trees that had fallen across the road.  We hopped in a car with Radio NZ reporters and drove out to the Lovu settlement, Lautoka, West Viti Levu.

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“The first sign of damage was the absence of our driver at the airport. We heard later he was trapped behind trees that had fallen across the road.  We hopped in a car with Radio NZ reporters and drove out to the Lovu settlement, Lautoka, West Viti Levu.

Along the way debris lined the road, billboards were warped and a 20-metre steel communications tower was bent in half like a paperclip. Power lines hung in tatters. There were worse hit areas further north, the RNZI reporter said. Later reports confirmed a flyover estimated 80% to 100% property destruction where the eye of Cyclone Winston had hit.

We approached the informal settlement of Lovu down an unmarked road. The first thing I noticed was the water. A dirty, brown water from a swollen river, surrounding houses made of wood and corrugated iron, and kids wading through it.

Next were the houses. Most were standing, some were completely destroyed, all of them were damaged by winds and waist-high floods.

I walked down the muddy main street, for lack of a better name, and saw people sitting, standing, some talking, some just looking shell-shocked. I approached them cautiously, respectfully, to ask for their stories.  I didn’t need to.  

My house, gone, look,” said Vinetta, walking up to me and pointing. Her voice was cracking. She led me around, pointing out her roof which had fallen in completely.

Stories from other families painted a picture. The storm had hit about 6pm on Saturday night and lasted four to five hours. Children were crying and families were scared as they huddled together in the local church, soaking wet from the floods and rain. They emerged the next morning to find their homes damaged, some completely destroyed. It was still in this state of shock I found them.

I asked our partner, Pastor Michael, about the water.  “Go to anyone’s house around here and there will be someone sick,” he told me. He’d been helping this community with his wife for the last seven years. “It breaks my heart,” he said.

Common practice in these communities is to dig a well in the front yard and a sewage pit in the back yard. But when someone’s back yard is your front yard it’s a recipe for sickness and disease, especially when flood waters mix them all together and fill your houses with it. This is what the children were wading in.

I found Nadeem sitting outside his house, the roof and walls of which were completely gone. He was trying to keep a cheerful face while talking to me but his voice choked when I asked him what his plans were next.  He paused as he wiped his eyes. “I will rebuild a small corner,” he said.  In the yard was disused car. He told me he and his wife were sleeping in it. Later that night, during a torrential downpour, I thought of Nadeem and his wife sitting in their car with no windows.

I asked people what their immediate needs were: water, they said, followed by food, and shelter. I had forgotten my water bottle, and was as thirsty as I could remember ever being. I had only been there four hours.

Humanitarian organizations and the Fijian government will complete assessments and plan a coordinated response in the next few days. Then aid will begin rolling out, including through our local partners working in vulnerable communities like Lovu. A planned response is necessary for making sure aid distribution is effective and doesn’t miss anyone out. But for the people in Lovu, it will seem like a long wait.”

–John Watson, Tearfund Communication Officer

Update – Feb 22: Viti Levu is without power or water

Monday, 22 February 2016 — Phil Botha

Cyclone Winston has caused wide spread damage in Fiji. The worst affected areas have been reported on the west coast of Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island. Coastal areas have been hit the hardest, with tidal waves up to 12m high which destroyed property and infrastructure.

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Cyclone Winston has caused wide spread damage in Fiji. The worst affected areas have been reported on the west coast of Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island. Coastal areas have been hit the hardest, with tidal waves up to 12m high which destroyed property and infrastructure.

Many houses have been flattened and damaged, belonging washed away, trees and power poles have been knocked down. Majority of the island nation still remains without electricity supply and several areas have no access to water.

The Fijian Government has declared a 30-day state of natural disaster. Over eight thousand people have been registered across 68 evacuation centres, however reports say that many people are requesting to return to their homes and recover their belongings.

Our partners on the ground are planning a response in the Western Division and have sent out teams today to assess the damage and help communities with the greatest need.

Update – Feb 22: Tearfund staff headed for Fiji

Sunday, 21 February 2016 — Phil Botha

Humanitarian Specialist Alice Banfield, Communications Officer John Watson and Humanitarian Support Officer Claire Hart were on their way to Fiji this morning.

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Humanitarian Specialist Alice Banfield, Communications Officer John Watson and Humanitarian Support Officer Claire Hart were on their way to Fiji this morning.

Here’s an update from John (Tearfund Communication Officer) en route to Fiji:

“We left Auckland at 9:30am this morning on board an Air NZ flight, who has resumed services to Nadi. The plane's hold is full of emergency supplies such as generators, as power is still out in large parts of Fiji.

John-and-Clair.jpg

I just finished watching 'Tanna', a true-life Romeo and Juliet story that took place on the island of Tanna, in Vanuatu, that was hit by a similar-sized cyclone to Winston almost exactly one year ago. Our partners are still at work there to restore crops and livelihoods that were wiped out by Cyclone Pam. I couldn't help but wonder about the damage to Fiji, and how long it would take them to recover. 

When we touch down in around half an hour I've arranged to show Newshub's Melissa Davies, and Radio Live's Mitch McCann some of the affected communities our partner is working in. I'm not sure exactly what scenes we'll be met with but I already feel for families who have lost their homes and livelihoods. I'm thinking about how to hear and record their stories in the most humble and respectful way possible. I'm praying for God's heart for them and praying that Tearfund can assist in bringing them some comfort and hope." 

John, Alice and Claire will be planning a coordinated humanitarian response and meeting our partners to support their work in communities most in need.  

Update – Feb 21: Our partners have begun helping

Sunday, 21 February 2016 — John Watson

As families begin to leave evacuation centres and asess the damage to their homes – some are completely destroyed – our partner, Ola Fou, have been helping to take water to families in areas who don't have any.

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As families begin to leave evacuation centres and asess the damage to their homes – some are completely destroyed – our partner, Ola Fou, have been helping to take water to families in areas who have lost access to clean water. 

Update – Feb 21: We have made contact with our partners

Saturday, 20 February 2016 — John Watson

Our partner in Fiji, Ola Fou, has made contact. Here's what thery had to say:

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Our partner in Fiji, Ola Fou, has made contact. Here's what thery had to say:

"We are ok... No hurt...the night was a nightmare... TC Winston is a monster"
–Tema

" Vunato our west cluster community was evacuated last night to the evaluation center. I still can't connect to Amani and Tema. But last night Tema and family were moved to a neighbor's house as the evacuation center was full. I have tried calling a student in Ba. Have not been able to connect. Will give another report once I hear from the rest. West seems to be the most affected."
–Eki

"Hey my family is fine.. But the surroundings doesn't look well... Thinking of checking communities of where we connected how they are. One of our student was calling last night his settlement has been damaged. His mum and dad they also have moved to a stronger house and not too sure about or house back in Nausori."
–Lite

"Bula Alice. Vanua Levu n the west took a direct hit. I hear they are badly affected. Don't know about flooding but this could affect low places in Suva. No power supply@ the moment in Fiji n all means of communcations to Vanua Levu is damaged."
–Tomu

Update – Feb 21. Reports of damage emerging from Fiji.

Saturday, 20 February 2016 — John Watson

We haven’t been able to get in contact with our partner yet, but reports are emerging of homes being completely destroyed and roofs being ripped off buildings, including a hospital ...

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We haven’t been able to get in contact with our partner yet, but reports are emerging of homes being completely destroyed and  roofs being ripped off buildings, including a hospital. Media is reporting at least one death when a house collapsed on an elderly man. There is no power and water.  Waves of up to 12 metres washed a bus inland and have likely caused damage to fishing fleets. Food shortage is a risk as crops have been destroyed too. Please join us in praying for partner. More here.

Update – Feb 20: Cyclone Winston, now severe Category 5, headed straight towards Fiji.

Saturday, 20 February 2016 — Phil Botha

Cyclone Winston has been upgraded to a Category 5, the most severe category, and is headed straight towards Fiji, where it is expected to make landfall tonight. Forecasts are for winds of up to 230kmph with gusts of up to 320kmph.

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Cyclone Winston has been upgraded to a Category 5, the most severe category, and is headed straight towards Fiji, where it is expected to make landfall tonight. Forecasts are for winds of up to 230kmph with gusts of up to 320kmph. Our partner in Fiji, Ola Fou, is busy helping to prepare communities for the cyclone by boarding up windows and patching up houses. [link to https://www.facebook.com/tearfundnz/posts/10153424307532896]

Director of Ola Fou Fiji, Amani Waqetia, told Newshub he was helping prepare people for impact with students across the two main islands of Fiji. Read the article here: http://www.newshub.co.nz/world/fiji-hunkers-down-as-cyclone-winston-looms-2016022007

Tearfund CEO, Ian McInnes, was also interviewed by Radio NZ International where he voiced how concerned the aid community in New Zealand is, and spoke to some of the issues Fiji could expect, including a potential food shortage.

Update – Feb 19: Cyclone Winston increases in intensity and U-turns on Tonga

Friday, 19 February 2016 — Phil Botha

After damaging infrastructure in Tonga’s northern islands of Vava’u Cyclone Winston, has increased in intensity to a Category 4, turned around and swept back over the island group.

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At least 10 homes have been destroyed and another 200 have been seriously damaged. It is feared crop damage could lead to a food shortage, as it’s estimated almost all of the root crops and over half of the northern islands’ fruit crops have been destroyed. It’s also feared that Cyclone Winston will make the Zika virus threat worse due to compromised sanitation and fresh water, and ideal breeding conditions for mosquitos. More info here: http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/homes-destroyed-as-cyclone-winston-lashes-tonga-2016021917

Update – Feb 17: Cyclone Winston causes minor damage in Tonga

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 — Phil Botha

Cyclone Winston damaged homes, power lines and telephone lines in Tonga’s northern Islands of Vava’u, and caused flooding in low lying areas ...

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Cyclone Winston damaged homes, power lines and telephone lines in Tonga’s northern Islands of Vava’u, and caused flooding in low lying areas, with winds of 120km an hour and gusts of up to 170km an hour. More here:http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/76983045/cyclone-winston-causes-damage-in-tonga


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Note: If funds raised exceed Tearfund’s funding requirements for this appeal, your gift will go to our General Disaster Fund for future disaster response and preparedness.