On Saturday February 20 2016, 06:30 GMT Category-five Cyclone Winston crashed into the Pacific Islands of Fiji bringing winds of over 320km/h, torrential rain and waves of up to 12m. 

Organisations involved in a humanitarian IT response in Fiji are encouraged to share information below or email Global.ETC@wfp.org

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The ETC in coordination with the Fiji National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has conducted needs assessments at three locations namely Kora island, Vanua Balavu island and northwestern Viti Levu island. An appropriate response is underway to meet the needs identified.

During the meeting with Digicel on the 25 February it was reported that the connection between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu islands has been restored.

Digicel network is now available in most parts of the following islands: Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Kadavu, Gau, Taveuni and Moala, as well as some parts of Yasawa and Mamanuca islands.

Digicel is working on restoring the connectivity in Koro and Lau Group, plus along the Kings Highway and remaining parts of Yasawa and Mamanuca islands. High level ETA is expected by the end of this week or early next week, as analysis is still in progress for Lau group. 

As additional assessments are conducted, it was confirmed that some infrastructure in northern part of the Viti Levu island is damaged, but both airports - Nandi for international flights and Suva airport for domestic travel – are operational, with no restrictions.

Digicel confirmed that the connection between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu islands is not operational. The status of Vodafone networks is unconfirmed.

The availability and cost of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) materials remains unverified. In general, ICT equipment is more expensive in Fiji as it needs to be imported. The possibility for market research is currently limited, but the telecoms community will be consulted later today for more insights.

The Government of Fiji has not formally requested international assistance and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) remains in charge of coordinating the international community efforts. The National Disaster Management Organisation (NDMO) holds meetings daily and releases internal SitReps 2-3 times a day.

WFP IT Officer participated in an initial assessment mission to Rakiraki in north east Viti Levu island.

The level of devastation increases after the Korovou junction with the area around Rakiraki most severely hit. Most houses built with timber had partial damage, missing roofs or were completely destroyed. Significant number of crops have been destroyed by the winds including cassava, banana and sugar cane. Most schools along the Kings Road have received partial to severe damage. 

All cell sites seen en route were essentially intact, yet many were not operational (only Vodafone was working as far as Rakiraki). Digicel coverage was limited to only the first 20km leaving Suva, going north along Kinds Road. Powerlines were down and laying on the road for miles. 

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