16 Aug 2016

Save the Children to launch 'biggest project yet' in Fiji

11:07 am on 16 August 2016

Save the Children has launched its biggest campaign to date to help save lives in cyclone-wrecked Fiji.

The children of Nawaisomo in the Fiji highlands are getting used to choppers landing in their remote village

The children of Nawaisomo in the Fiji highlands are getting used to choppers landing in their remote village Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

Cyclone Winston claimed the lives of 43 people and caused massive damage to the country's houses and infrastructure.

The NGO has invested $2.5 million US dollars into a child-centred national strategy to help the most vulnerable Fijian communities, and aimed to reach close to 14,000 children.

Children in the Nadalei evacuation centre - the Catholic School classrooms - on 26 February 2016.

Children in the Nadalei evacuation centre - the Catholic School classrooms - on 26 February 2016. Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

Chief executive, Heather Hayden, said the initiative was urgently needed and it was hoped that permanent evacuation centres could be built for future disasters.

It is a child centred strategy but there will be some focus on practical measures such as replacements for water tanks wrecked by the cyclone.

"Other areas we are working on are involving the [Fiji] Government in policy, making sure that children are at the forefront and protected during emergencies," she said.

"A lot of work around rebuilding evacuation centres, making sure they are full of emergency supplies, and making sure that communities identify where the issues are and are ready to respond."

Around two thirds of Fijians live in poverty, while four in ten Fijians are children under 18 years of age.

The New Zealand government funds 80 percent of the project and the rest of the funds come from generous donations from New Zealanders.

Children at Daku Village School, Fiji

Children at Daku Village School, Fiji Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs