FIJI is now picking the pieces Cyclone Winston left behind in its wake.
The deadly category 5 storm that ripped through the island nation last weekend had left behind a trail of unimaginable destruction.
The death toll had risen to almost 30 and may increase further as the full extent of the devastation unfolds.
It is a very difficult time for Fiji as a nation, and a painful moment for those who lost loved ones.
Let’s remember Fiji and its people in our prayers.
According to experts, Cyclone Winston is the worst to have hit our region and may not be the last.
It had produced winds of up to 325 kilometres per hour. That is very powerful.
With the availability of modern technology, Fiji alerted its citizens to the oncoming powerful storm before it hits the islands.
The Fiji Government quickly activated hundreds of evacuation centres across the country, giving people a place to take shelter and refuge on the night the storm struck.
It was this state of preparedness that hugely minimised the number of casualties.
The death toll could have been a different story had the people of Fiji not alerted to the storm and no evacuation centres for people to take refuge.
Fiji’s disaster preparedness appeared to have worked well for its people and country.
Despite the large-scale devastation, they were able to minimise the human cost.
Now here’s the big question for us.
How prepared are we in the event a category 5 cyclone heads our way?
Where are our evacuation centres?
A category 5 cyclone could easily wipe away our coastal and mountain villages that have houses built mostly of local materials.
Last year, category 5 cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, leaving behind large scales of destruction.
Nature turned on Fiji this year.
Who will be next?
With the negative effects of climate change, experts feared Winston may not be the last.
We definitely must be on alert and prepare for the unexpected.
Today’s unpredictable weather patterns mean a cyclone could form anytime and head our way.
Building good and stronger homes could mean saving lives during times of powerful disasters.
Advance preparation is crucial as we’ve seen in Fiji.
Cyclones Pam and Winston – destructive as they may – offered great lessons for Solomon Islands and the region during these times of unpredictable weather patterns.