SHELTERBOX USA: The Road to Recovery-ShelterBox Response to Cyclone Winston
Baby Yokimi was just three months old when Cyclone Winston hit. The storm, the worst ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, brought massive destruction to the island nation of Fiji. Torrential rain, wind speeds of 200 mph and 40ft waves obliterated up to 90% of structures and left an estimated 120,000 people without shelter.
Yokimi, along with her mother Diane, live in Tokou on the island of Ovalau, which suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Winston. When ShelterBox Response Teams reached Ovalau, they found massive trees on their sides, stripped clean of leaves and branches, while broken belongings lay stranded in the rubble.
When the cyclone swept through Tokou, families sheltered in the community center. As they waited for the storm to pass, they saw corrugated iron fly off roofs, possessions scattered and whole homes reduced to cement foundations. There was no way to rest in the community center, as the cyclone created such a big storm surge that the water came up to people’s chests. Parents had to hold their children up in the air in order to keep them safe.
Diane and Yokimi, along with the rest of their family, lived in the community center for six weeks after Cyclone Winston hit. Their home was destroyed and they lost all of their possessions. ShelterBox Teams were able to provide Diane and her family with a ShelterBox. The box not only contained a tent that the family was able to stay in until they start rebuilding their home, but all of the essential items needed to help them return to normal life such as kitchen utensils, solar lights and a water filter.
For Diane and her family, a ShelterBox means relief. She said: ‘I’m so happy to have a tent ... to have a safe place of our own to sleep.’