Lessons learnt from Winston

“THE fluttering of the tent in the wind just takes me back to that night,” said Eta Tuvuki, 37-year-old single mum. Her story is just one reminder that the recovery following Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston is not just about economics but also should ensure long term psychosocial support for adults and children “Going to the garden is a way we work together as a family,” she explained, relating that her children are traumatised and relive the experience of TC Winston when they saw all the damage to their home before their eyes.

Participation for Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery remained the focus as our focus group discussions continued with a core group of women leaders in Rakiraki who have been actively involved in our Women’s Weather Watch campaign particularly since TC Winston. Key preparedness priorities include food and water security. “When we were having our (village community) meeting last month, that’s what we’ve been trying to discuss to plant kumala for this cyclone season coming because that can stand us during cyclone and after cyclone,” said Salome Raqiyawa, 38 years old and member of the Nalalawa Women’s Club in Rakiraki.

“We will start planting it in November.” Lessons learnt from TC Winston include access to daily weather updates as well as information-communication systems which enable communities who cannot access radio stations to receive information to support preparedness, highlighted Raqiyawa, whose home is in a ‘broadcast black spot’ and continues to rely on femLINKpacific’s Women’s Weather Watch SMS updates.

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