Oxfam on alert as Tropical Cyclone Zena threatens Fiji

Emergencies, General, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 06 Apr 2016

Fiji faces further extreme weather today as Tropical Cyclone Zena threatens to damage weak buildings and crops, and heavy rains bring “catastrophic” flooding, just over a month after the country was hit by Cyclone Winston.

Oxfam is monitoring the cyclone closely and ready to give humanitarian assistance if required.

Tropical Cyclone Zena, currently a category 2 cyclone, was located about 900km to the west-northwest of Nadi, on Fiji’s main island, this morning. The storm is expected to bring wind speeds of more than 120km/h as the cyclone moves along the southern coast of Viti Levu overnight.

A cyclone of this intensity would be nowhere near as damaging as Cyclone Winston, the category 5 cyclone that struck Fiji in February, but it would still pose risks to safety.

Fiji has already been experiencing flooding and the problem is expected to worsen today, with NaDraki Weather predicting “catastrophic flooding” over much of the west and north of Viti Levu and northern Vanua Levu.

Oxfam’s Country Director in Fiji Dolores Devesi said flooding and the threat of Tropical Cyclone Zena would put extra pressure on those still in recovery.

“The flood waters and threat posed by Tropical Cyclone Zena’s gale force winds are the last thing Fijians recovering from Cyclone Winston need,” Ms Devesi said.

“We have humanitarian workers with emergency supplies on the ground, ready to respond, but supplies are limited and we need more assistance from the public.”

Oxfam is closely monitoring the situation and has humanitarian staff, including water and sanitation specialists, and emergency supplies, on the ground in both countries. The aid agency is coordinating with the National Disaster Management Office and other humanitarian agencies.

Oxfam is still appealing for funds from the public to help communities hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston with vital emergency aid.

Donations can be made online at https://www.oxfam.org.au/2010/04/my-life-in-24-hours/donate/cyclone-tears-through-fiji/ or by calling 1800 034 034.

For interviews or more information, please contact Angus Hohenboken on 0428 367 318 or angush@oxfam.org.au