The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has expressed its support to the Government of Fiji in its humanitarian and recovery efforts following the devastation wreaked by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The Category Five cyclone destroyed homes, farms, livestock, schools, businesses and infrastructure in the Pacific island nation. So far, 17 people have been reported dead.  

To assist in the Fijian Government’s response efforts, UNDP along with other UN agencies and development partners, are prepared to apply their experience and expertise across a range of issues including: livelihoods recovery, cash-for-work programmes, debris clearance, private sector engagement, and support to small-scale businesses.  

An important feature of this work is UNDP’s focus on vulnerable populations, especially women and youth, to enable early recovery from the disaster.

As part of the Pacific Humanitarian Team, UNDP is in discussions with partners to respond to urgent recovery needs as identified by the Fijian Government, said Osnat Lubrani, UNDP Resident Representative. 

“I also stand alongside development partners in expressing our sympathy to the Fijian people, and pledge to support recovery efforts to everyone who has been affected by this disaster,” said Lubrani. 

UNDP has strong experience working in close cooperation with the governments across the Pacific to respond effectively to multiple disasters in the region. 

“UNDP’s global experience and expertise to support rapid and efficient recovery from disasters will be deployed to assist the restoration of livelihoods,” Lubrani added.

UNDP has a number of existing programmes that can be directed towards early recovery activities, she said. These include the Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP), Fiji livelihoods project, Fiji Youth Project, capacity building component of UN Women Market for Change Project and other on-going programmes on the ground. 

Each of these projects encourage collaboration and strong engagement with public and private partners that helps facilitate a multi-stakeholder approach to recovery, to support the most affected and vulnerable populations.

UNDP will draw on experiences in the region with recent disasters with TC Pam in Vanuatu, the April floods in Solomon Islands and TC Ian in Tonga.

Tropical Cyclone Winston has been recorded as the strongest ever in the Southern Hemisphere with wind gusts of 325 kilometres per hour.