The ceiling of Rai Tabusoro’s home was ripped away by catastrophic winds. The 43-year-old was able to save the life of his elderly mother by placing her in a concrete bathroom, as well as a pregnant woman who he carried to shelter.
In the same Fijian village, Asmita Kamal, a 24-year-old teacher, found shelter under a table with her grandmother while her family hid under a bed as Cyclone Winston blasted through their village. Despite their best efforts to secure their house, strong winds swept away just about everything.
In early 2016, the Fiji province of Ra was hit by Cyclone Winston, the biggest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, impacting 62% of the Fiji population and caused F$2 Billion in damage (20% of GDP). It killed 44 people, injured hundreds and left 131,000 people homeless. The Category 5 storm first made landfall in Ra, leaving its communities completely devastated.
Cyclone Winston was an example of new enemies facing communities. Enemies that are linked to climate change.
And 2017 was no better. It’s been a year of catastrophic climate events. Record-breaking hurricanes claimed lives and destroyed infrastructure across several island states in the Caribbean and in towns and major cities in the southern United States. —they also leave communities further in the grip of poverty because poor people are more likely to live in fragile housing in disaster-prone areas, and work in sectors dangerously susceptible to extreme weather events, like farming and agriculture. In the end,