The European Union has pledged to spend €800,000 (close to two million Fijian dollars) in humanitarian aid funding to deliver emergency relief assistance to families affected by cyclone Yasa. The storm wreaked havoc across large parts of the archipelago nation, particularly the second largest island of Vanua Levu, where the eye of the storm passed through.
“Cyclone Yasa is the most powerful storm to hit the Pacific country this year and many families have borne a heavy brunt as a result,” said Janez Lenarčič, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management. “The EU’s contribution will support the Fijian government and our humanitarian partners in getting crucial aid to the most vulnerable people. Our thoughts are with all the victims”.
The storm has so far affected close to 200,000 people along its path, with over 23,000 forced to flee their homes and seek shelter in hundreds of evacuation centres. Widespread flooding and power cuts have also been reported in many areas, including the capital, Suva.
The EU funding will support humanitarian aid partners who are already on the ground to respond to the immediate needs of those most in need. This includes shelter, food, health care and access to clean water, safe sanitation and good hygiene.
The funding is part of the EU’s Acute Large Emergency Response Tool (ALERT).
Considered the strongest system to hit the southern Pacific since cyclone Winston in 2016, cyclone Yasa, made landfall in Bua province in Vanua Levu as a category 5 storm in the afternoon of 17 December. Packing wind gusts of up to 345 kilometres per hour, the storm brought heavy downpours, flooding and storm surges, damaging homes, crops, public facilities and infrastructure in many parts of the country. As assessments are still underway, the true scale of the damage is currently unclear.
The acute large emergency response tool (ALERT) is used to respond to large natural disasters where over 100,000 people or over 50% of the total population are affected. Depending on the type of disaster, the aim is to allocate funds within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of the emergency.