We need your help to raise $100,000 for Cyclone Winston Relief Effort

fijian child after cycloneOn February 20, Tropical Cyclone Winston tore through the Fiji Islands causing wide-spread devastation to many parts of our tiny island nation. The storm system reached a Category 5 (the highest possible storm rating) when it struck the the northern Fijian island of Vanua Balavu, and then at 2 p.m. local time (9 p.m. EST Friday) it roared across Koro with sustained winds of 185 mph — making TC Winston the second strongest cyclone to make landfall anywhere on Earth in recorded history. Communications with much of the country were lost and still remain out in some areas. Approximately 80 percent of the nation's 900,000 people lost power. The death toll currently stands at 42 people but is expected to continue to rise as communication is re-established in more remote areas.

Turtle Island was fortunate to escape the cyclone largely unscathed, but many of the villages in the island communities surrounding us fared far worse. Turtle Island employs over 100 Fijians who are the heart of Turtle Island. Their families and friends all live in these villages. There are seven villages and one settlement in our Tikina (community) — all have been affected by the cyclone. We have sent boats out to our neighbours over the last three days to assess their needs and find out how we can help. Fortunately there were no injuries in these communities, but most have suffered from a total loss of food crops and severe damage to housing. Since the disaster, they are running critically low on food, water and essential supplies with many families having just 2-3 days worth of food left.

Here's how you can help...

fiji cyclone relief mapWe have been truly humbled by the outpouring of concern and messages of solidarity for the Turtle Island family. Many of you have had your lives touched by the warmth and beauty of the Fijian people, and have asked how you can help during this crisis. We would like to raise funds to provide enough food to these affected communities for a 30 day period so that they can replant their crops and rebuild what remains of their homes. The total cost of supplies is just under FJD$80,000 (approx US$38,000). To kick off the donation, Turtle Island will pledge FJD$20,000 upfront and we have gone ahead and pre-ordered FJD$50,000 worth of supplies. Should we hit our target within the next 36 hours, we will purchase the remaining items to be loaded on a barge and chartered out to the islands for a Friday afternoon arrival to our area.

Addition funds remaining after meeting these immediate needs we will direct it to fixing damage to basic infrastructure, such as plumbing and electricity, to ensure they can still access and distribute water throughout their villages.

Your donation will provide 7 villages and 1 settlement 30 days worth of food items and basic necessities, which would allow them time to replant their crops and rebuild what might remain of their homes.

Click Here to Donate

Students survive Cyclone Winston

Fiji: Two students have revealed how they survived when the house they sheltered under was torn from its foundations. #7News

Posted by 7 News Queensland on Tuesday, February 23, 2016