Fiji is one of the largest and most populated countries in the Pacific. It has a total of 330 islands with a combined land area of 18,333 km² and a sea zone of 1.3 million km². Fiji’s population mainly lives on the two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Suva, the political and business capital of Fiji which is also the regional hub of the Pacific, lies at the south-eastern side of the main island, Viti Levu.
Fiji is highly susceptible to natural disasters, particularly cyclones, floods, earthquakes, tsunami and drought. The cyclone/rainy season in Fiji is between November and April.
In February 2018, TC Gita after making landfall in Tongatapu and Eua on 12 February, the category 4 cyclone passed through the Southern Lau group of Islands in Fiji and caused devastation to the islands of Ono I Lau, Fulaga and Vatoa. The Government quickly mobilized and deployed personnel along with humanitarian partners to conduct assessment and distribution of relief supplies.
In February 2016, Fiji was struck was a severe category 5 tropical cyclone Winston. Winston inflicted extensive damage on many islands and killed 44 people. Communications were temporarily lost with at least six islands, with some remaining isolated more than two days after the storm's passage. A total of 40,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and approximately 350,000 people—roughly 40 percent of Fiji's population—were significantly impacted by the storm. Total damage from Winston amounted to FJ$2.98 billion (US$1.4 billion). The Prime Minister of Fiji with the UN Resident Coordinator, launched a TC Winston flash appeal which included the activation of the CERF to support local Government agencies and NGOs immediate relief work and recovery through the relevant UN agencies.
The Fijian National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), under the Ministry of Rural, Maritime Development, Disaster Management and Meteorological Service is responsible for the overall planning and coordination of disaster risk management in Fiji with a separated division of climate change under the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Fiji recently assumed the chairmanship of COP 23 and launched its national humanitarian policy following cabinets approval as part of its commitment to the outcome of the WHS.
National response capacity in Fiji is strong due to a well-established and active network of humanitarian partners, including Government, the Red Cross, local NGOs and UN agencies.
OCHA OP has supported enhanced disaster coordination structures and humanitarian response planning in Fiji, including participation in the development of the humanitarian policy. The UN has a sub-regional office in Fiji. The UN agencies present in Fiji are; ESCAP, FAO, IFAD, ILO, IMF, IOM, ITC, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNDSS, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNISDR, UNOCHA, UNOHCHR, UNV, UN Women, WFP and WHO. The UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Fiji covers 11 Pacific Islands countries and territories and coordinate UN agencies to assist government in development work, respond to emergencies and national security issues.