Cyclones cost Fiji $2.42b

Bukama Village in the Yasawa Group after a recent tropical cyclone. Picture: SUPPLIED/FT FILE

The total damage and losses recorded by tropical cyclones in Fiji between 2010 and 2020 is estimated at $2.42 billion and represented 1.25 per cent of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product.

Minister for National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu said this at the recent launch of a training manual for psychological first aid for field workers in Fiji. “The unprecedented level of destruction caused by tropical cyclones is a reality for Fiji,” Mr Seruiratu said.

“During that time, nine tropical cyclones made landfall in different parts of Fiji, causing 58 casualties.

“As average temperatures rise, acute hazards such as cyclones and floods grow in frequency and severity, causing droughts and rising sea levels intensify.”

Mr Seruiratu said people and children could experience a wide range of emotions before and after a disaster or traumatic event.

He, however, noted it was important to find healthy ways to cope when these events happened.

The recently-launched facilitation manual, he said, would provide an evidence-informed approach for assisting people and children in the immediate aftermath of disasters to reduce initial distress and foster short-term and long-term adaptive functioning.

“The manual promotes a sense of safety, a sense of self and communal control, connectedness, calmness and hope. All these are critical lifesaving skills that promote, maintain and restore individual and community psychological wellbeing.”

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