Trip to Fiji after Tropical Cyclone Winston
Foreign Minister Murray McCully visited Fiji on Monday 29 February to discuss the response to Tropical Cyclone Winston with the Fiji Government and look at how New Zealand can support recovery efforts. Minister McCully met with New Zealand response staff and held meetings with the Fiji Government to gain an understanding of what the longer–term needs in Fiji might be.
“The damage to property, and loss of life caused by Cyclone Winston in parts of Fiji is almost unprecedented in the Pacific,” Mr McCully says.
While humanitarian relief operations are continuing, the response is starting to move into the recovery phase, with a focus on restoring infrastructure such as electricity, water and transport.
“The devastation caused by Cyclone Winston is very serious. Nearly 55,000 people remain in evacuation centres and the people of Fiji now face the difficult task of rebuilding their lives,” Mr McCully says.
On 1 March, following his visit to Fiji, Murray McCully announced a $1.5 million increase to New Zealand’s aid package. This includes $1 million to help repair power lines and infrastructure in some of the worse affected areas, and $500,000 for additional relief supplies and technical support. This increase takes New Zealand’s total support to over $4.7 million.
NZDF C-130s are continuing to deliver supplies in support of the relief operation. HMNZS Canterbury arrived in Fiji on 2 March and is expected to join HMNZS Wellington in the Northern Lau group by the end of the week.
“New Zealand will support the Fiji Government as it works to recover from Cyclone Winston and we are currently developing a wider package of support focused on helping affected communities rebuild,” Mr McCully says.