Australia’s thoughts are with the people of Fiji, particularly those who have lost family and friends as a result of Tropical Cyclone Winston, the largest recorded cyclone to hit the country.
I commend the Government of Fiji for the preparedness measures in place to protect its citizens and limit the damage. Early assessments indicate these measures have helped reduced the loss of life.
Australia is providing an initial $5 million package of assistance to Fiji in an immediate response to the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston.
This package will support those in greatest need, facilitating the rapid release of pre-positioned stores and food items to assist people who remain in evacuation centres or who have been displaced due to the cyclone. These stores will ensure communities have access to safe drinking water and basic hygiene for those who have lost their houses or are displaced.
Australia has offered P3 Orion aircraft to Fiji to assist with aerial surveillance of affected areas. These are on standby in the region. Australia has also offered MRH-90 helicopters to assist Fiji to carry out assessments and provide relief to the outlying islands affected by the Cyclone.
Supporting the assessment efforts are two Australian Civilian Corp specialists working alongside Fijian colleagues in the National Disaster Management Office.
We are working in partnership with the Government of Fiji and with the Fiji Red Cross Society, UN agencies and NGOs. Australia is in close cooperation with New Zealand and France through our FRANZ trilateral disaster relief arrangement. We are also working with the Pacific Island Forum members as they identify where assistance is required.
The full impact of this disaster is still not known. We stand ready to provide further assistance to support Fiji’s relief and recovery efforts.
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