Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by Yasa, causing damages amounting to hundreds of millions in dollars. The full damage report is yet to be completed because many in the affected island still did not have communications or have been cut off by the waters from flooding.
It is feared that the coming high tide may cause storm surges or inundate coastal areas further.
According to Bainimarama, the danger from Yasa is not yet over. He advised people to stay out of flood waters and to stay sheltered. He assured the people that help and relief are coming.
Nationwide state of emergency
(Photo : Unsplash)
At least four people, including a baby three months old, died in Cyclone Yasa, a category five storm that brought devastation in Vanua Levu, the second largest island of the nation Fiji, last Thursday evening.
In anticipation of the storm, Fiji”s government issued a nationwide emergency and also implemented a curfew. Everyone was required to be inside overnight for 14 hours last Thursday. It was estimated that 95 percent of the population of the country, or 850,000, were going to be affected directly by Yasa.
According to the country’s office of disaster management, 23,479 looked for overnight shelter in 457 evacuation centers last Thursday up to the morning of Friday. Thousands of others took shelter in church halls and caves.
According to Josephine Prasad’s account on Facebook, a community hall and 20 houses were destroyed in Tiliva, Bua on Vanua Levu. She said food and medical supplies are urgently needed.
Ilisapeci Rokotunidau, director-general of the Red Cross Society of Fiji, said that coastal areas were affected by flooding and storm surges. There was also extensive power outages. She added that trained volunteers are responding with relief and first aid.
Raijeli Nicole, regional director of Oxfam in the Pacific, Yasa moved more rapidly than they thought. She said coastal communities were vulnerable from inundation and flooding, along with heavy rain and strong winds. She was concerned that without assistance, waterborne infections will become a risk.
Effects of climate change
According to Bainimarama, who is an advocate for greater worldwide climate action, said that Yasa came after 12 years since storm Evan also devastated Fiji.
He argued that climate change is causing more intense and more frequent cyclones in the Pacific. He says Fiji has been hit by twelve more cyclones, of which two, Yasa and Winston, may be the hemisphere’s historically strongest storms. It is not normal, he says, and it is a real climate emergency.
According to meteorological data, cyclones have indeed become more frequent and intense, with some islands having barely recovered from a cyclone before a new one pummels them again.
Two previously rare category five storm level cyclones have already devastated Fiji within this year, including Cyclone Yasa, which devastated Vanua Levu.
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