Fiji: In the wake of the Southern Hemisphere’s most powerful storm on record crossing directly over Fiji, Friday and Saturday, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has declared a State of Natural Disaster!
“The damage has been widespread,” said Bainimarama on Sunday. “Many are without power and full access to water, and are cut off from communication.”
A curfew is to remain in place through Monday morning, allowing emergency workers access for clearing roads of downed trees, power lines, and building debris.
The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, quoting the country’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), said 21 people had died and four were still missing at sea. These numbers could rise as contact is made with the outer islands.
Update from District Superintendent Rev. Kafoa Muaror
- The Nazarene pastors we have been able to reach are okay, but we are still not able to contact many of them as the outer islands of Kadavu and Taviuni and the northwestern part of Viti Levu remain cutoff from communications.
- Still attempting to establish contact with Pastor Daniel Latu, pastor of the Nazarene church in the town of Ba, which was one of the hardest hit areas. Daniel serves as the Melanesia South Pacific Field NYI Coordinator. Please pray that contact will be established with Daniel soon and for the safety of his family and those in this hard-hit area.
- All Nazarene pastors who are able will be gathering together at the District headquarters in Suva on Tuesday, February 23rd, bringing assessments from their areas so that a coordinated response can be developed.
- Most of the Nation of Fiji remains without power and it will probably be some time before power is restored especially to the more remote and outer islands.
- The current focus is on providing shelter, food, and safe water for those that we can.
It is reported that most of the buildings in Suva, the country’s capital, have only minor damage. Review of photos of the more coastal and outlying areas show significant devastation, with houses flattened and trees stripped of foliage.
CARE Australia is reporting that the storm also caused severe damage to houses and crops in Tonga, another island nation that lies to the Southeast of Fiji.
Please continue to make prayer a priority for the Nation of Fiji and for all of those who have been impacted! If you wish to partner in the relief effort, please follow this link.
Feature Image Credit: BBC