On 27th February 2016, category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji. The storm was the strongest and most devastating cyclone to ever hit the South Pacific, leaving behind widespread destruction – 55,000 homes completely destroyed, 44 people died and at least 40% of Fiji’s population directly impacted.
One of the first to respond to the disaster, SPBD Fiji carried out a rapid damage assessment and found almost half of its centres were negatively impacted. At least a quarter of all members sustained different degrees of damage to both their homes and sources of livelihood. After the assessment, SPBD promptly implemented a Relief and Rehabilitation Program to assist its members. The program was carried out in in 3 phases: Relief, Recovery and Rehabilitation.
The Relief Phase provided a vital goods and cash package to 2,610 members. The Recovery Phase sent 75 centres an assortment of tools (chainsaw, wheelbarrows, shovels, hammers, etc.) enabling the community to rebuild and restore their homes and facilities. In the Rehabilitation Phase, SPBD Fiji provided financial assistance to ease the burden of members greatly affected by the cyclone. SPBD provided grace periods on repayments to these members to allow time to concentrate on recovering their losses. Furthermore, SPBD restructured the loans of eligible members and also provided rehabilitation loans to members who need the additional assistance to rebuild their businesses or homes.