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TC Winston impact reaches $1billion

February 25, 2016 7:50 pm

The overall impact from Tropical Cyclone Winston is estimated at one billion dollars and counting.

Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this is based on widespread damage to home, crops and infrastructure.

As the extent of destruction continues to emerge days after TC Winston, the government has made early estimations of what this natural disaster will cost the country.

“Taking into account the number of homes all around Fiji that have been damaged or completely demolished, the impact on agriculture in terms of crops that are on the ground that have been damaged, the ability to plant, ability of people to earn an income and obviously the impact on power lines –Sayed-Khaiyum says the damages can be estimated to be around one billion dollars.”

Taxpayers coffers are already in use – rations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been delivered or an enroute to families in need.

“Of course the cyclone Winston will have an impact on the economy. Cyclones as you know have a tendency of slowing down economic growth because people are not at their full potential. None the less, it is our responsibility, it is the responsibility of the government and every person in Fiji, every company in Fiji to ensure we are able to recover as quickly as possible.”

However, this is only the immediate response – the government will spend years getting Fijians and the economy back on their feet.

All international aid is being directed to the Disaster Management Office which is coordinating urgent supplies of basic foods items.

Sayed-Khaiyum has urged tourists not to cancel their holiday plans to Fiji – we need their support now more than ever.

About seven million dollars has been pledged by international partners including the Asian Development Bank which is expected to provide just over four million dollars by this weekend.

The Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund is also active, for which The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation is also conducting a Saqamoli Appeal in the Capital.

The Banks in the country have agreed to give unsecured loans to those customers affected with an interest rate of 4.5% and re-payment term of up to five years.