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Not Losing More Than 44 A Miracle: Seruiratu

Minister for National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu yesterday said it was a miracle that Fiji did not lose more than 44 lives during Cyclone Winston in February. “Although tragic, it
14 Oct 2016 11:00
Not Losing More Than 44 A Miracle: Seruiratu
Minister for National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu

Minister for National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu yesterday said it was a miracle that Fiji did not lose more than 44 lives during Cyclone Winston in February.

“Although tragic, it was more of a miracle that we did not lose more than 44 lives,” Mr Seruiratu said.

“We believe a contributing factor for this number is the work we have been doing with partners to build resilience to our communities and strengthen their preparedness status and to improve early warning systems.”

Mr Seruratu was speaking yesterday in an address on the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction which was celebrated worldwide.

“As the Minister responsible for Disaster Risk Management in Fiji, I can confidently speak for the Pacific Island Countries we are neighbours and connected by oceans which are our source of livelihood, and during adversity challenges our safety and well-being,” he said.

“This is what we are and what we face in the region.”

He said the Pacific was one of the most at risk regions in the world, with frequent natural hazards, such as cyclones, floods, droughts and tsunamis which was being exacerbated by climate change.

“Fiji recognises the importance of building resilience to this new norm of frequent natural hazards and effects of climate change to ensure sustainable development and saving lives in the future,” he said.

These changes to our environment are evident with the recent Cyclone Winston, which struck Fiji in February this year, he said.

“This was the strongest Cyclone ever to strike Fiji, with the Cyclone impacting over 60 percent the country’s total population,” he said.

“Entire communities were destroyed, and over 30,000 houses were either damaged or destroyed.

“Fiji is committed to building its resilience against these natural hazards and our government is taking strong steps to ensure a safer community for all.

“The combined value of destroyed assets, destructions and loss of production of goods and services equates to $2.8billion.”

Source: DEPTFO News

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