News Release

Church Members and Missionaries Aid in Cyclone Cleanup

Evacuees shelter in Church meetinghouses

On 17 December, Tropical Cyclone Yasa passed over a portion of Fiji, centering on the islands northeast of the capital Suva, causing significant damage as it passed.

Church members in Fiji worked in teams to clear debris from roads and to assess damage to homes and buildings in coordination with government officials. Missionaries based in Suva worked the next day on cleanup of beaches and parks in the Suva area.

The storm had been classified as Category 5 but was downgraded to a Category 3 system as it made landfall in Vanua Levu and passed through the Southern Lau Group, moving in a South East direction away from Fiji.

In the wake of the storm, there was significant damage in coastal areas with homes and roads destroyed by wind and storm surge on the islands of Vanua Levu and Vitu Levu. Many areas suffered extensive damage to crops and livestock.

In several areas, Church buildings have been used to shelter citizens forced from their homes due to flooding and cyclonic winds.

At the peak of flooding in Samoa, a village road was turned into a fast-flowing river. According to an eye-witness, the water was approximately one meter in depth. 

Some locations experienced severe flooding as more than 20 cm of rain per hour had been falling as reported by the NZ HeraldThe cyclone also caused heavy rain and flash-flooding in neighbouring Islands.

Latter Day Saint Charities is currently working in partnership with Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to provide hygiene kits and shelter equipment to the Fiji National Disaster Management Office.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported that all of its missionaries in Fiji were safe and that no meetinghouses had been damaged.

As of Saturday, 19 December, the storm was in open water about 500 km SSE of Fiji.

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