Melanesia in Review: Issues and Events, 2016 New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste are not reviewed in this issue. Fijiâs vulnerability to climate change was tested throughout 2016 with cyclones, the most powerful being Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston on 20 January 2016. Winston was the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the history of Fiji or the South Pacific Basin. This category five cyclone left forty-four people dead and at least thirty-five thousand people homeless in Fiji (Fiji Sun Online 2016; Thackray 2016). Recovery efforts have been slow. At the beginning of 2017, almost a year after Winston, tents were still being used in parts of Fiji for housing and for schools. The devastation has added not only to the Fiji governmentâs ongoing financial burdens but also to its long-term responsibilities to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the country. Recently, changing weather patterns have produced new problems in Fiji requiring urgent solutions. For instance, after Winston destroyed so many buildings and homes, it was realized that most were structurally weak and unable to withstand such mega-storms. From the colonial period on, a significant percentage of Fijiâs population has remained in rural villages or, increasingly, on the
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 9, 2017
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