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Fiji is an archipelago of 322 islands in the South Pacific, with approximately 100 of these inhabited.
The wild beauty of the country, with its coral coasts, rolling hills and volcanic peaks draws tourists to its shores every year. But while to the outside observer this may seem like paradise, for residents the impact of climate change and natural disasters is taking its toll. Fiji was the first country to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2015, and only a year later was hit by two severe natural disasters.
The country continues to experience extreme weather events: in 2020 Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold impacted more than 180,000 Fijians, with damage to homes, crops, schools, health centres and other infrastructure. In 2022, a volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami that hit some of Fiji’s Islands, causing substantial damage to fishing boats, schools and infrastructure.
Anglican Overseas Aid is working with the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia and Anglican Missions New Zealand, to equip and empower young people in the Pacific to prepare their communities to respond to natural disasters. Items to reinforce the safety and resilience of communities have been provided, including water tanks, hygiene and dignity kits, agriculture kits and debris clearing tools. Churches have been identified as evacuation points and equipped with the necessary supplies. Mapping exercises to identify vulnerable people who will need assistance in an emergency have also been conducted, ensuring that communities are kept as safe as possible.