The Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific and to Fiji, H.E. Sujiro Seam, said: “After Cyclone Harold hit Fiji, especially in Southern Lau and Kadavu, our priority was to get affected people back on their feet as soon as possible, addressing their need for shelter, healthcare, water and food. Our best course of action was therefore to support organisations already on the ground. This is why the European Union response to Cyclone Harold in Fiji takes the form of a contribution to the Fiji Red Cross Society. This action is of course coordinated with the efforts from the Government of Fiji and complements the contributions from other international partners''.
The European Union assistance will be delivered by the Fiji Red Cross Society and will provide essential household items for affected people such as clothing packages, blankets, kitchen sets, water containers, mosquito nets, jerrycans, shelter tool kits, solar lamps, tarpaulins and hygiene and dignity kits. This aid will ensure shelter, improved hygiene, clean water supplies and sanitation facilities and access to food in the affected areas.
The European Union funding is made available via a contribution from the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC).
Fiji Red Cross Director General, Ilisapeci Rokotunidau welcomed EU’s timely support.
“Our volunteers on the ground are sharing with us stories of the impact felt by families and communities on the devastation and loss brought by TC Harold. This assistance will go a long way in bringing some form of normality to affected families and communities. The European Union has always been a strong and close partner of the Fiji Red Cross and this is not the first time it has shown its support to the Society. It not only assists us during our responses but also supports in our recovery and preparedness programs. Vinaka vakalevu on behalf of Fiji Red Cross and our volunteers and for supporting our work”.
Considered the most powerful cyclone to strike Fiji since Winston in 2016, Harold hit Fiji on 8 April, 2020 as a category four cyclone, bringing heavy downpour, strong winds and destructive sea swell and forcing over 6000 to seek shelter across Southern Lau, Kadavu and parts of the Central, Western and Northern Divisions. The subsequent floods also destroyed a large swath of crops, which are the main sources of food for many in these areas.
Cyclone Harold first affected Vanuatu on 6 April 2020, as a category five cyclone. Responding to a request from the Government of Vanuatu, The European Union provided a humanitarian assistance of EUR 300,000, implemented by the international non-governmental organisation CARE and EUR 38,111 delivered by the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
For further information, contact Mohammed Nazeem KASIM, EU Press & Information Officer Suva, Fiji Mobile: +679 867 2255 Email: Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu