Ovalau is the sixth largest island in Fiji. When Cyclone Winston hit the country six weeks ago, it caused widespread destruction to Ovalau and many other islands. Massive trees lie on their sides. Leaves and branches are nowhere to be seen, but broken belongings and rubble lie tangled in the devastation.
When the cyclone swept through Tokou, a village in Ovalau that is located below sea level, people sheltered in the community centre. As they waited for the storm to pass, they saw corrugated iron fly off roofs, possessions scattered and whole homes reduced to cement foundations.
There was no way to rest in the community centre, as the cyclone created such a big storm surge that the water came up to people’s chests. Parents had to hold their children up in the air in order to keep them safe.
While these communities are resilient to the extreme weather of the South Pacific, many families are still living in emergency accommodation such as schools and community centres.
Diane and her family have been living in the community centre since Cyclone Winston hit. Their home was destroyed and they lost all of their possessions. It was terrifying, especially for their three-month-old child Yokimi.
With your support our ShelterBox teams were able to provide Diane and her family with a ShelterBox. The box not only contains a tent that the family will be able to stay in until they start rebuilding their home, but all of the essential items needed to help them return to normal life such as kitchen utensils, solar lights and a water filter.
For Diane and her family, a ShelterBox means relief. She said:
I’m so happy to have a tent – to have a safe place of our own to sleep.
ShelterBox Canada Executive Director, Stephanie Christensen, was deployed to Fiji and arrived in-country at the beginning of April. She has been assisting with the distribution of aid on the island of Ovalau and said that when Diane and her family received their ShelterBox and set-up their tent, you could see the relief on their faces.
Your donations enable us to provide ShelterBoxes, tents and tools to provide shelter and help people repair damaged homes. Despite rough terrain, remote islands and further storms, our ShelterBox response teams are going the extra mile to reach people in need.
We’re making a difference in Fiji, but there are families all over the world who are living without shelter. Please donate today so that no family goes without shelter.
Children play in the remains of a house on the island of Ovalau, Fiji.