In February 2016, Cyclone Winston left a trail of destruction. It was the strongest tropical cyclone in history to ever make landfall in Fiji. It wiped out entire villages, and left 347,000 Fijians in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including 120,000 children. Children’s lives were thrown into utter chaos. Damaged or destroyed were over 30,000 houses, nearly 500 schools and 88 health clinics and medical facilities.
Wiliame, a student at Mualevu District school. Wiliame sits looking through damaged books in what is left of his school’s library - now roofless with debris scattered around the room and a mountain of damaged library books – once treasures in this safe learning space.

It’s no wonder that children’s sense of security was shaken after the devastation and shock of Cyclone Winston. With our partners, UNICEF developed Fijian storybooks with 70 Fijian artists, poets, and writers, based on true stories of what happened to children during and after the cyclone. These will help kids overcome post-traumatic stress and lingering anxiety, as well as develop reading skills. 
 
Here’s 10-month-old Emma Cornelia, who with over 150 children and parents attended the storybooks’ launch in August 2016 © UNICEF Pacific/2016/Hing

Thanks to the support of our donors, including our Global Parents, who make monthly donations to support children in need, UNICEF was able to hit the ground running right after Cyclone Winston, with emergency supplies ready and stockpiled.

UNICEF teams worked tirelessly to help the children of Fiji. We set up child-friendly spaces to keep kids off the streets and away from danger. We provided counselling and psychosocial support for children suffering profound stress. We helped get kids back to school where they can look to the future with their friends. And we assisted their families to get back on their feet, and delivered emergency water, health and nutritional supplies to families who had lost everything.
 

"We have lost everything. When my son realised what happened to our house, he cried. Every time he comes here he cries. He almost doesn't talk to us, I think it affected him."

Kalisi, one of thousands of moms who lost their homes to Cyclone Winston
Together with our supporters and the Fijian government, UNICEF reached: 
 
  • 200,000 people with safe drinking water.

  • 82,000 people who were issued with new or replacement birth certificates.

  • 30,000 vaccines to stop the diseases that too often thrive in the aftermath of disasters.

  • Thousands of children with oral rehydration salts to stop diarrhea and dehydration and micronutrients to prevent malnutrition (Vitamin A capsules to 3,311 children; multiple micronutrient powder to 3,140 to address anaemia; and deworming tablets to 3,030).

  • 40,962 children with school-based psychosocial support.

  • 28,488 primary and secondary students and 5,520 pre-school children with learning materials.

  • Nearly 6,000 students in 38 schools in worst-affected areas with a school feeding programme.

  • 97 schools across the country with 67 generators and 83 photocopying machinesUNICEF continues to support Fiji’s children. We get things done. With your and our partners’ help, we ensure that we have the greatest impact on kids and communities.

Find out here how you can support children in other emergencies around the world.
 
With long experience in the region and all over the world, UNICEF knows what to do when humanitarian emergencies happen, particularly how to keep children safe and provide water, nutrition, and health care. We’re proud to report how your donations are being spent. Why not read about it in our latest annual report?