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Homes Flattened, Thousands In Evacuation Centres As Powerful Tropical Cyclone Yasa Strikes Fiji

Oxfam is working with local partners and coordinating with the Fijian government to assess the damage and needs of affected communities following Cyclone Yasa’s landfall in Fiji yesterday and early this morning.

Communities are reporting widespread damage to homes, landslides blocking roads, coastal and surface flooding in low-lying areas and damaged vegetation.

Destructive winds of up to 345km/h, heavy rain and storm swells affecting more than 600,000 people in the South Pacific island nation, have disrupted access to essential utilities including water supply and sanitation facilities, as well as shelter and food security.

Oxfam in the Pacific’s Regional Director Raijeli Nicole said preparations were underway with local partners to support people affected by the super-cyclone.

“Though TC Yasa is moving faster than expected, leaving less time to cause as much damage as was feared, it still has the potential to be devastating for the hundreds of thousands of people in its path. Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable with flooding and coastal inundation expected in low-lying areas, along with strong winds and heavy rain,” she said.

“We are extremely concerned about the potential for a second disaster within a disaster. Without assistance, people will be at risk of waterborne infections.

“The cyclone is still moving across Fiji and therefore determining the true impact of the damage will take some time. However, Oxfam has contingency stock already in place including hygiene kits with essential items like soap and water purification tablets ready for our local partners to distribute to communities in need.

“This is the second Category 5 tropical cyclone to hit Fiji’s main population centres in 2020 after Harold in April, and one of a dozen major storms in the last eight years. Through intensifying cyclones like Yasa, our islands are experiencing the harsh consequences of inaction on climate change right now. It’s past time for world leaders to step up their commitments in this climate emergency,” she added.

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