Australia Pledges Aid to Fiji After ‘Strongest Ever’ Tropical Cyclone

December 18, 2020 Updated: December 18, 2020

Australia has pledged support to Fiji after the island nation was devastated by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Yasa, one of the strongest ever recorded in the Pacific.

TC Yasa, a category 5 tropical system, made landfall on the northern island of Vanua Leva on Thursday evening, killing at least two people and destroying scores of homes.

It brought torrential rain and gusts up to 345 km/h (214 mp/h) to the archipelago, which was already ravaged by TC Harold in April.

The Fijian government declared a state of Natural Disaster (pdf) on Thursday before the cyclone made landfall and put a curfew in place overnight.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said in a statement on Saturday, “Our thoughts and condolences are with our Fijian vuvale following the loss of lives, damage to property, and livelihoods.”

For now, humanitarian and emergency relief supplies that Australia gave Fiji in April, in the aftermath of TC Harold, are helping to meet the country’s immediate needs, Payne said.

“The Australian government will assist the Government of Fiji in whatever capacity we can,” Payne added.

“We stand ready to deliver additional emergency supplies such as tents, tarpaulins and hygiene kits, and to support the distribution of supplies to remote outer islands, which are reported to have been severely hit by the category five storm.”

Australian air force aircraft (P-8 Poseidon) will be deployed to assist with aerial surveillance of storm-affected areas.

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