The Ocean Cruising Club is calling for sailors in the South Pacific area to join the Fiji recovery efforts following Cyclone Winston.
Winds reaching more than 300 kilometres per hour (186mph) ravaged the islands and 900,000+ people living in Fiji over the weekend.
It is said to be the most severe cyclone to hit the Southern Hemisphere, and the death toll in Fiji has jumped to 42.
The outer islands in the eastern Lau Group, northern Vanua Levu and Taveuni areas, and the western Yasawa islands seem to have sustained the most damage from the cyclone, which was of category 5 strength.
Winds of this magnitude will tear apart the homes, strip any edible fruit or coconuts from the trees, uproot any crops in the field, and foul the water catchment drinking supply with ocean water.
What the wind did not destroy, the storm surge of waves being pushed inland will carry everything back out to sea once the storm has passed. This leaves those living on the remote islands without shelter, food, safe drinking water and even the tools and materials to rebuild their shattered lives.
Sea Mercy and YachtAid Global have partnered to provide and supply a fleet of volunteer vessels to deliver emergency aid, shelter, food, water, and trained medical and disaster response teams to the devastated remote islands of Fiji.
Disaster response experience in Tonga (Cyclone Ian in 2014) and in Vanuatu (Cyclone Pam in 2015) has demonstrated the crucial need to provide the vessels, aid and medical teams to reach the remote islands at the earliest opportunity in order to avoid unnecessary loss of life.
Without roads or power to connect these outer islands to the primary islands (where the international aid is sent), Sea Mercy’s First Response Fleet vessels are often their only hope during the first 30-60+ days following a natural disaster.
Sailors in the South Pacific area who would like to offer assistance in the Disaster Response & Recovery work, are asked to use the online Captain Request Form or email firstname.lastname@example.org and the Fleet Director will connect with you at the earliest opportunity.