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Tropical Cyclone Yasa response update

22 December 2020

A joined-up response from New Zealand and Australia is enabling the Diocese of Polynesia to extend its support to those most in need following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

On 17 December Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Yasa made landfall on Fiji bringing devastating winds with gusts reaching 350km/h and waves of 12m. The main impact has been on Vanua Levu and Taveuni where the Cyclone has destroyed houses and crops and damaged roads and infrastructure. Flooding and landslides remain a problem is some areas and power is still down across much of the island. The Government of Fiji is committed to reopening schools in time for Term One in January is stressing the importance of taking public health measures to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.

Before Christmas there were still 8,000 people sheltering in 171 evacuation centres that have included 5 Anglican churches, 6 worship centres and 3 Anglican schools all in the Episcopal Unit of Vanua Levu and Taveuni which is led by Bishop Henry Bull.

Anglican Missions is delighted to join forces with Tearfund NZ and Australia’s Anglican Overseas Aid and Anglican Board of Mission in an exciting new joined-up approach to raise money to assist the Diocese of Polynesia as it responds to immediate needs and works to strengthen levels of preparedness. It is heartening in the lead-up to Christmas to work so closely and collaboratively to help those most in need. Cyclone Yasa comes as a triple whammy for Fiji following the devastation caused by TC Harold earlier in the year year and then of course the near complete collapse of the international tourism sector as a result of Covid which has had such a severe impact on incomes and livelihoods.

Staff from the Diocese of Polynesia ably assisted by young CIVA (Community Integrated Vulnerability Assessment) team members are out and about assessing damage and identifying needs. These assessments will inform our response plan which is likely to build on the successful post-Covid project which includes the distribution of essential supplies and longer-term recovery in the form of communal gardens on church properties. It will also likely include a psychosocial support element as this can be an area overlooked when responding to emergencies.

Lets gather around our Fijian brothers and sisters and demonstrate Gods love as we prepare for the arrival of the baby Jesus by giving generously to this Appeal.

To donate, please go here

Lord Jesus Christ,

you are the one who calms the storm and brings hope to frightened people.

Hear us as we pray for the people of Fiji

as they deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Yasa.

Bless those who mourn the death of loved ones,

that they may be comforted.

Bless those who have lost their homes or businesses,

that they may find shelter and sustenance.

Bless those who are already economically vulnerable because of Covid-19

that they may find paid employment.

Move us to help in whatever way we can,

so that the people of Fiji may know your love

through the hearts of their sisters and brothers in Christ. Amen.

                      Prayer from Anglican Board of Mission, Australia