Baby Yokimi was just three months old when Cyclone Winston hit.
The storm, the worst ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, brought massive destruction to the islands of Fiji. Torrential rain, wind speeds of 200 mph and 40ft waves obliterated up to 90% of structures and left an estimated 120,000 people without shelter.
Yokimi, along with her mother Diane, live in Tokou on the island of Ovalau, which suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Winston. When our response teams reached Ovalau, they found massive trees on their sides, stripped clean of leaves and branches, while broken belongings lay stranded in the rubble.
Homes reduced to foundations
When the cyclone swept through Tokou, families sheltered in the community centre. As they waited for the storm to pass, they saw corrugated iron fly off roofs, possessions scattered and whole homes reduced to cement foundations.
There was no way to rest in the community centre, as the cyclone created such a big storm surge that the water came up to people’s chests. Parents had to hold their children up in the air in order to keep them safe.
Diane and Yokimi, along with the rest of their family, lived in the community centre for six weeks after Cyclone Winston hit. Their home was destroyed and they lost all of their possessions.
It was terrifying, especially for baby Yokimi.
With your support our ShelterBox teams were able to provide Diane and her family with a ShelterBox.
The box not only contains a tent that the family will be able to stay in until they start rebuilding their home, but all of the essential items needed to help them return to normal life such as kitchen utensils, solar lights and a water filter.
Relief from disaster
For Diane and her family, a ShelterBox means relief. She said: ‘I’m so happy to have a tent – to have a safe place of our own to sleep.’
Your donations enable us to provide ShelterBoxes, tents and tools to provide shelter and help people repair damaged homes. Despite rough terrain, remote islands and further storms, our ShelterBox response teams are going the extra mile to reach people in need.