By the Blouin News World staff

Fiji still reeling from Cyclone Winston’s devastation

by in Asia-Pacific.

Effects of Cyclone Winston on Koro island, Fiji. Source: FAO emergencies/flickr

Effects of Cyclone Winston on Koro island, Fiji. Source: FAO emergencies/flickr

Fiji is still reeling from Cyclone Winston, the most devastating tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, which struck on February 20. 43 people died, and 40% of the population (350,000 people) was affected, with widespread devastation and displacement. On Monday, local media reported that over 51,000 applications had been received by the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) for Cyclone Winston Natural Disaster assistance. The majority of these are for a one-time payment of $1,000 — the maximum currently available.

Winston will be far and away the costliest and most damaging natural disaster to ever hit the developing country. Jaoji Koroi, FNPF ‘s COO, confirmed that about $4 million will be paid to members’ accounts by Monday afternoon. And the government is expecting a similar number of applicants over the next two weeks. For reference, the Fund received 8,164 applications for assistance following Cyclone Evan in 2014, and it paid out $7.4 million. And for the 12 months preceding June 2015, FNPF received a total of 65,000 applications.

Even if the government could pay every affected person $1,000 in a timely manner…

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