OISCA Supports Cyclone Disaster Victims in Fiji
Tropical Cyclone “Winston”, the most powerful cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere, hit Fiji from the night of February 20 through February 21. The cyclone has inflicted an enormous damage especially to the over 13,000 displaced Fijian people. This is particular in Ra Province which located in the northeastern part of Viti Levu Island where former OISCA trainees are carrying projects.
The OISCA Resident Representative, Ms. Jocelyn Matunhay and Resident Staff, Ms. Roda Gawan as well as the Fijian local staff have to rush to the disaster-affected areas to distribute relief goods like food, clothes and tents as well as to determine the extent of damage. The OISCA relief team also cooked curry and distributed seeds among the victims so that they would be able to cultivate vegetables for their own consumption. During the distribution of goods, the OISCA staff and former OISCA trainees were given priority.
Meanwhile, during the ocular survey of the extent of damage, the team found out that the trees planted by the community were seriously damaged and the houses along the coast were totally devastated. Moreover, the village warehouse for storing equipment for coral reef conservation project was destroyed and many tools were lost.
Even under these conditions, some local villagers confessed that “thanks to the mangrove trees planted by OISCA, our village managed to escape from complete destruction”. They expressed a hope that OISCA would cooperate in providing, not only emergency relief goods, but tree seedlings and vegetable seeds which are expected to serve long-term purpose.
In this situation, OISCA intends to support the emergency relief and recovery activities carried out by the resident representative and staff and OISCA Fiji, and also continue the environmental conservation projects such as mangrove planting, Children’s Forest Program (CFP) and human resources and community development through providing advices on agricultural skills.