SYDNEY, February 21 2016 – The World Bank is deeply concerned for the people of Fiji as reports come in about the damage caused by Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston. The World Bank's disaster risk management team is continuing to monitor the situation closely, and stands ready to support the Government of Fiji.
"Our thoughts are with the people of Fiji at this difficult time," said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Timor Leste, PNG and the Pacific Islands. "This is reported to be the strongest cyclone ever to hit Fiji and is yet another reminder of the increasing vulnerability Pacific Island countries face due to climate change and natural disasters."
The World Bank already has a number of climate-related projects in place in the Pacific region, aimed at reducing the impacts and increasing the resilience to these sorts of disasters. The World Bank will be available to assist with a post-disaster needs assessment if requested by the Government.
The World Bank office in Suva will be closed until damage can be assessed.