UNICEF New Zealand has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to respond to the severe devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji.
Reports say Cyclone Winston is the worst storm to ever hit the southern hemisphere.
More than 400,000 people live in areas that may have been affected by strong winds, rain and flooding.
UNICEF New Zealand's Executive Director, Vivien Maidaborn says, "While the full picture is not yet clear, what we already know does not bode well for the people of Fiji. So many families have lost everything and so many communities have been completely flattened.
UNICEF staff are currently packing up supplies from our warehouse in Suva. Our teams will then work closely with the Government and other partners to navigate extreme logistical challenges so that distribution can begin immediately.”
Children, families and communities across Fiji will require extensive support to meet growing and urgent needs around water, sanitation and hygiene, including the provision of water containers, purification tablets, soap, and temporary sanitation facilities.
In the aftermath of a cyclone, issues related to health are always a huge concern due to the presence of stagnant water which can increase the risk of waterborne diseases.
Education is also a priority as many schools have been destroyed or are currently being used as shelters. UNICEF will provide tents to act as temporary classrooms as well as resources to ensure children can get back to school as soon as possible.
Maidaborn says, "So many New Zealanders have strong connections to Fiji and we are appealing to each and every Kiwi to help us get Fiji back on its feet once more.
You can help us supply urgently needed basic essentials to ensure the safety of children and families in the next trying days and weeks. We are calling on all New Zealanders to donate what they can at www.unicef.org.nz/fiji."
Donate: www.unicef.org.nz/fiji or text FIJI to 2923 to make a $3 donation