Two casualties have been confirmed, according to the Fiji National Disaster Management Office. That number is expected to increase.
Cyclone Yasa, a top-5 hurricane, was landing in Bua prefecture on the northern island of Vanua on Thursday evening, causing torrential rains, widespread flooding and winds of up to 285 kilometers per hour (177 miles per hour) across the Archipelago.
Fiji declared a state of natural disaster on Thursday, ordered the entire population of about 1 million people to take refuge, and enforced a night curfew.
The alarm received a great deal of attention, and as a result, humanitarian groups said it appeared that the initial impact of Hurricane Yasa, which was less than its danger, was widespread.
“We are deeply concerned for the safety of the thousands of victims of this hurricane,” said Elisapesi Rokotinidau, director general of the Fiji Red Cross Society, in a statement on Friday. “Preliminary reports from volunteers are revealing the devastation in Bua, a province on the island of Wuawa Lewu. The intensity of the storm and the height of the storm have affected the coastal areas of many islands.”
Images shared on social media show roads blocked by landslides, flood waters and falling trees. All roads in Rakiraki, a district on the main island with about 30,000 inhabitants, were flooded, Fichi road authorities said.
“Communities need immediate help,” Shaira Ali, CEO of Save the Children Fiji, told CNN. “Some families have reported that they have lost everything.”
Ali said some families lost all their food during the storm. “They’ve had water and biscuits for breakfast.” “Our main concern is to ensure that people, especially children, have access to proper food and clean water.”
Officials are concerned about the heavy rains purchased by Cyclone Yasa, although the strength of the hurricane has weakened and it is now only 2 squares as it moves south in the direction of the island chain.
However, efforts by aid groups to send aid to the hostile environment have been hampered by waves of more than 3 meters (10 feet) preventing ships from falling asleep.
Strong cyclones have become common in the Pacific in recent years, due to Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Benimarama and environmental organizations taking to account climate change.
Benimara tweeted on Thursday, “This is not normal.” “This is an environmental crisis.”
The Fijians are “literally fighting for our survival,” Genevieve Jiva, secretary of the environmental NGO 350 in Fiji, said in a statement on Friday.
“Villages, houses and crops were destroyed near the Christmas season. Instead of celebrating, we are now focused on building our lives.” “That’s why I fight for weather justice.”
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