Cyclone Winston: CARE warns of disease outbreaks, with water supplies cut off and thousands still seeking emergency shelter

22 February 2016: Aid agency CARE International is warning communities could be at risk of disease outbreaks in cyclone devastated Fiji as water supplies remain cut off and thousands shelter in evacuation centres.  

Sarah Boxall, a member of CARE Australia’s emergency response team in Fiji, said: “Whilst we are still trying to get a clear picture of the impact of this massive storm, aerial assessments have shown villages have been completely flattened. Power has been down in much of the country, damage to water supplies is likely to be significant and sewage systems are also potentially damaged. This, coupled with the fact that thousands of people are still sheltering in crowded evacuation centres, could quickly lead to the spread of disease.”

In Fiji, CARE is working with local partner Live & Learn to urgently assess the damage to water sources, toilets as well as crops in Fiji’s Western Division. CARE will support Live & Learn in an emergency response ensuring clean water supplies are quickly re-established and communities know how to keep themselves safe and healthy in the aftermath of the cyclone.

“In this type of emergency, it really is a race against time to get immediate relief to those who have lost everything and ensure families can stay safe and healthy. Our key focus will be on rehabilitating water supplies and promoting sanitation and hygiene as we know diseases can spread so easily after this type of event,” Ms Boxall said.

CARE Australia is also deploying emergency response experts from Australia to support Live & Learn, now international flights have resumed.


For interviews with Sarah Boxall in Fiji contact Sam Bolitho at CARE Australia +61419567777 or Dylan Quinnell +6141244969

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