On December 17, Tropical Cyclone Yasa made landfall on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island, with sustained winds exceeding 149 mph (240 kph). Further bringing life-threatening storm surge and widespread flooding, it leveled villages, destroyed food and water supplies, cut power, and more. To provide short- and long-term humanitarian assistance, YachtAid Global created the fundraising initiative Operation Viti.
The government of Fiji is still assessing the damage and coordinating evacuations for survivors. So far, it confirms four people died. About 93,000 people, or about 10 percent of the population, were directly affected on a few islands. Specific to Vanua Levu, Tropical Cyclone Yasa completely destroyed more than 1,500 homes. It partially damaged 6,000 houses, too. The storm was the second-strongest on record to make landfall in Fiji.
Complicating matters, the Fijian government has had to suspend COVID-19 social-distancing measures to ensure rescue of survivors.
YachtAid Global started assisting the Fiji National Disaster Management Office through Operation Viti on December 22. In fact, it’s coordinating air and sea operations in conjunction with other aid groups plus local agents from SEAL Yachts Fiji. Specifically, so far, two superyachts and three locally based support vessels have delivered 20 tons of relief to the affected islands. Hygiene kits and mosquito nets, along with food, lanterns, tarps, and even toys were included.
Large-scale relief efforts like this are part of YachtAid Global’s focus. It coordinated 83,000 meals, 1,250 water filters, and more, for instance, during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Additionally, since 2006, it has enlisted the help of upwards of 250 yachts for more than 175 initiatives, in more than 25 countries.
The non-profit has set up a donation page for Operation Viti, too. It says 100 percent of donations will continue to secure disaster relief and supplies.
YachtAid Global yachtaidglobal.org