The Declaration of a State of Natural Disaster has been extended for a period of another 30-days for the Northern Division, effective from today.
The extension for the Northern Division was approved by Cabinet this week in accordance with Section 17 of the Natural Disaster Management Act 1998 and on the advice of the Emergency Committee.
The extension comes after the expiry of the declaration of a State of Natural Disaster for the country yesterday. Government announced the 30-day Declaration for the whole country on December 16, 2020, a day before Tropical Cyclone Yasa made landfall on Vanua Levu.
National Disaster Management Office Director Ms. Vasiti Soko said the extension of the Declaration for the North indicated the severity of the devastation left behind by TC Yasa on the three provinces of Vanua Levu.
“The extension of the Declaration will allow the Government to efficiently and effectively plan and coordinate the response phases for Tropical Cyclone Yasa and to also assist with the early recovery phase for the education, health and housing sectors and for the purpose of food security as well,” Ms Soko said.
For the past 30 days, Government had been focused on ensuring that Fijians in the most affected communities were provided with the much needed assistance they needed.
To date, more than 40,000 packs of emergency food rations have been dispatched to the Northern, Western and Eastern Divisions. In addition to this, non-food items (NFIs) such as clothes, shelter toolkits, kitchen sets, tarpaulins, dignity and hygiene kits and other relief items have been distributed to affected families and communities across the three divisions. Ration distributions continue in the North, while the second deployment to the Eastern Division departs Suva tonight.
Government’s priority at the moment remains to be the rebuilding of damaged schools to enable students in most affected areas return to school by the beginning of Term 1 on January 19.
Personnel from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who came aboard the HMAS Adelaide and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) are currently engaged in this project. Works on the restoration of power and water supply in some severely affected areas on Vanua Levu also continue.
In terms of the process of registrations of fundraising activities, Ms Soko said NDMO had been overwhelmed with the response shown by members of the public who continue to register their intentions with them.
“We now have 84 organisations and individuals registered with us. Some of these partners have also presented us their distribution plans which has greatly assisted us in our coordination of relief supplies on the ground,” Ms Soko said.
“In addition to this, we have also received interests from Fijians abroad intending to send through relief items under the Loloma Package which we recently announced in partnership with Fiji Airways and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS).”
For the next 30 days, the NDMO with support from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will also continue with awareness on the Leptospirosis, Typhoid, Diarrhoea and Dengue Fever (LTDD) campaign to prevent any outbreak of diseases following the aftermath of TC Yasa.