The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) handed over today USD 50,000 worth of debris-clearing equipment to the Ministry for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, to support clearing efforts in the aftermath of cyclone Winston, the most devastating on record in the Southern Hemisphere.
Standing in front of some of the 14 chainsaws and clearing kits handed over, Mr. Meli Bainimarama, Permanent Secretary for Rural, Maritime Development and National Disaster, thanked UNDP on behalf of the Fijian Government for “the quick response and wonderful gesture in a time of urgent needs”. “This equipment will support communities in Koro, Batiki and Nairai Islands, in the Lomaiviti Province, which the Government identified as priority number two”, he added.
In the hardest hit areas, almost 90 per cent of structures were destroyed, generating huge volumes of debris that hinder the affected population access to humanitarian aid and essential services, compounding public health risks. In the Lomaiviti province alone, there is an estimated 42,000 tons of debris.
“As part of its rapid response to support the rehabilitation of community infrastructure and clearing of debris, UNDP is handing over chainsaws, brush cutters, wheelbarrows and shovels destined to Koro, Batiki and Nairai Islands, where over 4,800 people are living”, said Akiko Fujii, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative. “With these tools, the Fiji Government will be better equipped to help communities restoring access to critical services and rebuilding houses and farms”, said Ms. Fujii.
This emergency relief equipment, worth USD 50,000, is financed by the Emergency Cash Grant and procured directly in Fiji in order to be available more quickly to the communities in need. The clearance of debris will also play a key role in medium-term recovery, as a first step in restoring livelihoods and access to essential services and infrastructure.
UNDP is assisting the recovery efforts in close coordination with development partners and the Fiji Government, with a strong focus on efforts that lay the foundation for inclusive and sustainable development. It has already reallocated USD 130,000 from ongoing projects to support the Governments’ response to the needs of the farming communities that have been severely affected.
Emily Moli, Knowledge Communications Analyst, email@example.com; tel: (+679) 3227 504