The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Innovative project to rebuild cyclone-safer houses in Fiji

Event date: 
22 Mar 2016

As people in Fiji rebuild their communities and homes following the destruction caused by Cyclone Winston, an innovative Caritas recovery programme is aiming to ensure homes fare better in the face of increasingly violent storms.

Working alongside partners the Archdiocese of Suva's Commission of Justice and Development, Caritas is developing a 'showhome' built using proven design principles that have a particular focus on resilience against cyclones. A training manual for local builders will be produced during the construction to help train local builders to rebuild safer houses.

"As the impact of Climate Change becomes more obvious around the Pacific and the likelihood of more category five cyclones increases, we are having to get smarter about how we work with communities to prepare them for disasters they may not have experienced previously," says Mark Mitchell, Humanitarian Programmes Coordinator for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

"This project incorporates principles developed around the world in countries that also experience severe storms, but also allows for local builders to adapt the building to climate conditions in their area."

Through its partner the Archdiocese of Suva' s Commission for Justice and Development, Caritas will also supply local tradesmen with building material for the houses. In the long term, trained supervisors will also be used to help check the resilience of new buildings.

Caritas is continuing to complete small-scale distributions in some of the worst affected areas of Fiji, including Rakiraki, Ba, Yasawas, Tailevu and Savusavu. The scale of relief efforts will increase in the next few weeks, with priorities being shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection of people in evacuation centres particularly, and counselling for people traumatised by the storm.

We are accepting donations to provide communities with crucial supplies and to help them recover following this major emergency, as well as supporting our ongoing justice and development work in Fiji.

*If donating online, select Fiji Fund

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