A deadly storm hits Fiji

Diane’s daughter, Yokimi, was just three months old when Cyclone Winston hit.

The storm, the worst ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, brought widespread destruction to the islands of Fiji. Torrential rain, wind speeds of 200 mph and 40ft waves obliterated up to 90% of structures. Moreover, Winston also left an estimated 120,000 people without shelter.

Diane lived with her baby Yokimi in Tokou, on the island of Ovalau that suffered extreme damage. When our response teams reached Ovalau, they found massive trees on their sides, stripped clean of leaves and branches, while broken belongings lay stranded in the rubble.

When Cyclone Winston swept through Tokou, families 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.

However, the community centre wasn’t the safest place to be, either. 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.

Three men carrying green boxes
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ShelterBox supported communities in Fiji Islands after Cyclone Winston hit in 2016.

Losing everything

Diane and her family stayed in the community centre for six weeks after Cyclone Winston hit.

Their home was destroyed and they lost all of their possessions. It was terrifying, especially for baby Yokimi.

But with your support, our ShelterBox teams were able to provide Diane and her family with a ShelterBox.

The family received a tent where they were able to use until they were able to start rebuilding their home. In addition to the tent, they also received the essential items needed to help them return to normal life such as kitchen utensils, solar lights and a water filter.

Cyclones Explained
A woman smiling outside a tent holding her baby
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'I’m so happy to have a tent – to have a safe place of our own to sleep', Diane said.

On the road to recovery

For Diane and her family, a ShelterBox meant relief.

Your support is vital for families like Diane’s in Fiji and beyond. Tents and tools, as well as other essential aid items are crucial in enabling communities to recover after disaster or conflict.

I’m so happy to have a tent – to have a safe place of our own to sleep.