According to the Fiji National Disaster Management Office, two casualties have been confirmed. This number is expected to increase.
Top Category 5 Hurricane Cyclone Yasa carried torrential rain, widespread flooding and winds reaching 285 kilometers per hour (177 mph), making torrential rain over Bua province on the northern island of Vuava Levu on Thursday evening.
Fiji had declared a state of natural disaster on Thursday, ordered its entire population of about 1 million people to take shelter, and implemented a night curfew.
The alarm was largely taken into account, and as a result, humanitarian groups stated that the initial impact of this cyclone Yesa was less than originally feared, although still widespread.
“We are concerned for the safety of thousands of people who have suffered the brunt of this monster storm,” Fiji Red Cross Society Director General Ilisapesi Rokotunidou said in a statement on Friday. “Preliminary reports of volunteers in Bua, a province on the island of Vanua Levu, are revealing the devastation. The impact of the storm has caused further flooding in the coastal areas of many islands at the height of the storm.”
Images shared on social media showed roads blocked by landslides, floodwaters and fallen trees. Fiji’s Road Authority said that all roads in Rakiraki, a district on the main island with about 30,000 residents, were flooded.
“Children need immediate assistance,” Save the Children Fiji CEO Shirana Ali told CNN. “Some families report that they have lost everything.”
Ali said that some families lost everything during the storm. “They have water and biscuits for breakfast,” she said. “Our main concern is to ensure people, especially children, have the proper food and clean water available to them.”
Authorities are concerned about the heavy rains purchased by cyclone Yasa, although the storm has weakened in strength and is now just a Category 2 as it moves south across the island chain.
Nevertheless, adverse weather has hampered efforts to send aid to aid groups, preventing ships with waves of more than 3 meters (10 ft) from leaving Suva.
Strong cyclones have become common in the Pacific in recent years, with some Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, and environmental organizations set down for climate change.
“This is not normal,” Bainimara tweeted on Thursday. “This is a climate emergency.”
Genevieve Jeeva, secretary of environmental NGO 350 in Fiji, said in a statement on Friday that Fijians “are literally fighting for our survival.”
He said, “The village, houses and crops were devastated during the Christmas season. Instead of celebrating we are now focused on rebuilding our lives.” “That’s why I fight for climate justice.”