Six months on from Cyclone Winston - Red Cross continues to help thousands in Fiji to recover

Published: 19 August 2016

Suva – 19 August 2016: Six months ago more than 350,000 people felt the full force of Cyclone Winston, a category 5 tropical storm, which tore through Fiji leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.  Today, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS), continue to help survivors who are struggling to recover. So far the Red Cross has reached 63,000 people with emergency aid but more needs to be done to return a sense of normality to many communities.

“We have managed to reach thousands of people in the most remote corners of the country with relief items that cover their material needs – tarpaulins and tools to make shelters, water containers, clothing and kitchen sets”, said Fiji Red Cross Director General Filipe Nainoca, “but just as important have been our efforts to support the pyschosocial needs of individuals and families. We have built a network of staff and volunteers trained in psychological first aid and they have been carrying out vital work on the frontlines where people have experienced considerable trauma”.

Shelter remains a top priority. Cyclone Winston damaged or destroyed 32,000 homes and reconstructing communities will take months. The IFRC and FRCS recovery operation aims to help people rebuild their own homes. This is combined with upgrading or repairing sanitation hardware, public education around hygiene and disease prevention and continued psychosocial support.  

The Red Cross is training carpenters in ‘Build Back Safer’, techniques to make homes more resistant to tropical storms. This approach will be put into practice as 50 demonstration houses are built across the North, West and Central divisions of Fiji. The Red Cross aims to reach 10,000 households with education, messaging and practical guidance about Build Back Safer techniques. 2,000 households will also be helped directly to make repairs to their homes.

The IFRC is one of the biggest contributors to recovery efforts in Fiji. On 1 March the IFRC launched a seven million Swiss Franc international appeal (Euro 6.4 million, USD 7 million) to support the recovery of 50,000 people over a one-year period.

“Our appeal is only 57 per cent covered and we still need international donors to step forward so that we can reach our targets and make a lasting difference to communities who have been shattered by this disaster”, said Kathryn Clarkson, Head of IFRC’s office in Suva.

For further information and to arrange interviews please contact:

In Fiji:

  • Corinne Ambler – Communications Delegate, IFRC, Suva Office | Mobile: +679 998 0166 | Email: | Twitter: @corinneambler

 In Kuala Lumpur:

  • Patrick Fuller, communications manager, Asia Pacific, IFRC | Mobile : +60 122 308 451 | E-mail : | Twitter : @pat_fuller

In Geneva

  • Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications | Mobile: +41792132413 | E-mail:  | Twitter: @BenoistC

For updates on Twitter follow @IFRCAsia Pacific @Fijiredcross 

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 mil­lion people each year through its 190 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit