Thousands of families in Fiji are homeless after the destructive tropical cyclone Winston hit over the weekend – and emergency shelter is a critical priority, according to Habitat for Humanity.
Cyclone Winston ravaged Fiji’s islands from February 20-21, destroying and damaging homes. 21 people have been confirmed dead, and four are missing.
Staff at Habitat for Humanity’s local ReStore charity stores have supplied urgent provisions and are appealing to those in the position to do so, to donate to the Fiji disaster response fund at their local checkouts.
Chief executive Claire Szabo said in Fiji at least 150 houses had been destroyed, 87 damaged, and reports were coming in that whole villages had been completely devastated on outer islands.
“There is a critical and urgent need to help provide shelter for the families of Fiji,” says Claire.
“Habitat has been on the ground in Fiji for 25 years, and we are continuing to respond now. The immediate provision of shelter is a priority, and our disaster response specialists are there. We need donations so we can get in and start providing emergency shelter. And when the time comes, we will be there to help families repair or rebuild cyclone-resilient homes.”
“So far, we know that sadly, people’s lives have been lost. There are more than 8000 people currently sheltering in evacuation centres. And before the cyclone, more than 140,000 Fijiian people were living in substandard homes – it will take us some weeks to fully understand the damage.”
“Habitat for Humanity ReStores are taking donations at the checkout, and also welcoming donations of quality used goods which will help to fund Habitat’s action in Fiji” says Claire.
Nelson’s Habitat for Humanity shop manager Becky Wyatt says people are keen to donate to the cause.
“As customers come to the counter we just tell them that we’re already there on the ground, we’re already there building homes, we just need some money so we can get to work. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness as well as money.”
We haven’t had any big donations yet, its mainly been people donating whatever change they have in their purse or adding a dollar onto the purchase their already making but I’m hoping that people might get together and hand a hat around their neighbourhood and bring us $100 or so” says Becky.
People wishing to support Habitat for Humanity provide shelter to families in Fiji can make donation at the ReStore, or online at habitat.org.nz/donate.