Some 35,000 of Fiji’s 900,000 residents are believed to be in emergency shelters as cleanup continues from Cyclone Winston, the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Among those mobilizing to deliver food, water and supplies is YachtAid Global, which organizes private and charter yachts that can provide assistance in times of crisis.
Cyclone Winston struck Fiji as a Category 5 storm on February 20, killing at least 44 people. Ten-minute sustained winds reached 145 mph, and wind gusts topped 200 mph, according to various reports. Offshore swells were as high as 39 feet, according to YachtAid Global.
YachtAid Global is matching monetary donations up to $3,000 and is seeking the assistance of yachts cruising throughout the Pacific, and specifically in Australia and New Zealand. Supplies can be picked up in hubs such as Cairns, Brisbane and Auckland for delivery to Fiji.
“The effects of the cyclone are particularly poignant with the devastating effects of Cyclone Pam, which decimated areas of Vanuatu, still fresh in the minds of people across the Pacific,” YachtAid Global announced in a news release. “YachtAid Global, in partnership with yacht agents and other NGOs and volunteers, was able to load superyachts with water, medical supplies and other necessities in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam, successfully delivering aid to Vanuatu’s outer islands. In some cases these superyachts were the first responders to reach these devastated communities with lifesaving water and other critical aid.”