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Asian Disaster Reduction Center(ADRC)
Information on Disaster Risk Reduction of the Member Countries
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Information on Disaster Risk Reduction of the Member Countries

FijiFiji

General Information

Formal Name: Republic of Fiji
Fiji is an Island nation of the Melanesia region of the South Pacific. Suva, the capital of Fiji and largest city, is located on the south-eastern coast of Viti Levu. Fiji consists of 333 islands, where approximately 110 of them are inhabited; the territory also includes a range of smaller islets.
Fiji has a population of around 900,000 with a service-based economy heavily reliant on tourism and remittances from Fijians living abroad back home to family. Agriculture remains the main source of livelihood for nearly half of rural Fijians.
The Constitution of Fiji establishes a government with three branches: Parliament, Executive, Judiciary.
Temperatures in Fiji remain relatively constant throughout the year, averaging around 23C -25C in the dry season (May-October) and 26C -27C in the wet season (November-April). Fiji is highly vulnerable to tropical cyclone, experiencing multiple events annually during the wet season (November to April). Susceptible to climate change effects like rising sea-level, floods and landslides.

Overview of Disasters

Fiji stands as one of the most susceptible countries to the impacts of climate change and climate-related disasters in the world. The effects of climate change are expected to bring about significant adverse consequences in terms of the environment, society, culture, and the economy, with some of these repercussions already manifesting in harmful ways.
The most frequent occurring disasters, based on data from 1980-2020, can be categorized as follows: Tropical Storms (65%), Floods (23%), Drought (6%), Earthquake (4%) and Epidemic (2%).

Recent Major Disasters

Tropical Cyclone Winston (February 2016)

On 20 February 2016, Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston struck northeast of Suva as a Category 5 cyclone. At its height, the cyclone generated sustained winds reaching 233 km/h and gusts reaching as high as 306 km/h, solidifying its status as one of the most intense cyclones to impact the South Pacific. According to Government of Fiji reports, 44 people were killed and approximately 540,400 people impacted by the Cyclone, equating to 62 percent of the population of the country. Moreover, 492 schools were damaged, 30,369 houses damaged and 88 medical facilities damaged or destroyed. Total damages wrought by TC Winston was assessed to be 0.6 billion USD.

Tropical Cyclone Harold (April 2020)

On the night of 7-8 April 2020, TC Harold approached Fiji, making landfall on Viti Levu and the eastern islands as a Category 4 cyclone. The cyclone resulted in extensive power outages, road blockages due to fallen trees, and widespread flooding. In response, 69 evacuation centers across four divisions were established, accommodating a total of 1,778 evacuees. Based on data from EM-DAT an estimated total of up to 180,000 people in the country might have been affected by the cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Yasa (December 2020) and Ana (January 2021)

TC Yasa made landfall on 17 December 2020 as a Category 5 cyclone, causing extensive damage across Vanua Levu, with estimates of 139,000 people affected. It was the most destructive cyclone since TC Winston in 2016. Just over a month later, on 30 January 2021, TC Ana made landfall as a Category 2 cyclone across Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, heavily damaging crops, weakening house structures and causing power failures. Significant flooding, accompanied by extremely high seas and storm surges, caused coastal inundation.

Disaster Management System

Legal System

The Natural Disaster Management Act 1998 (Act) was enacted by the Parliament of Fiji in 1998. It sets out the governance arrangements for disaster risk reduction and disaster response at both national and subnational levels. The Act establishes the National Disaster Management Council (Council) as well as the 3 Committees that report directly to the Council. These are respectively:

(i) Prevention and Mitigation Committee;
(ii) Preparedness Committee; and
(iii) Emergency Committee.

The 3 Committees are responsible for overseeing their respective responsibilities relating to the disaster management cycle. The Council is the overall decision making body for all disaster related matters in Fiji and comprises of Permanent Secretaries of Government Ministries, the leaders of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, the Fiji Police Force and Fiji Correction Services and the Chief Executive Officers of key utility providers, the Fiji Red Cross Society as well as the Fiji Council of Social Services. The Council is chaired by the Minister responsible for Disaster Management.
The Act also establishes the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), which is the organization responsible for the day to day operational matters of disaster risk management. The Act also establishes the subnational governance arrangements for disaster risk management in 4 administrative divisions of Fiji. Disaster risk management in the divisions are headed by Divisional Commissioners and assisted by Provincial Administrators and District Officers at the provincial and district levels, respectively.

Organization

Organization Chart Click Here The NDMO serves as the central coordinating body for disaster risk management and disaster risk reduction for the Fijian government before, during and after national disasters. Under the framework of the Natural Disaster Management Act, the NDMO oversees and coordinates disaster risk management activities across various administrative levels, including the national, divisional, district or provincial, and local or community levels, all within the organisational structure of the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development.
The NDMO manages disaster-related activities across these levels through a range of programs, including Disaster Preparedness initiatives, Disaster Mitigation efforts, Disaster Response activities during natural disasters, and Disaster Rehabilitation programs aimed at restoring normalcy following the adverse impacts of a disaster.

Plan

The National Disaster Management Plan is a primary blueprint for disaster management of Fiji. All government and non-governmental disaster plans align with this central plan, working in close coordination and collaboration with the NDMO. Specialized agency plans, like those for dealing with oil pollution incidents, should be comprehensive and independent but maintain communication with the NDMO. If a disaster exceeds their scope, specialized agencies will access support outlined in the plan. Notifications of plan amendments will ensure necessary updates and adjustments as needed.

The plan aims to:
1. Reduce potential losses from known hazards.
2. Provide prompt disaster assistance to survivors.
3. Enable rapid and durable recovery after disasters.

ADRC Counterpart

Country Report