The world's image of small islands in the South Pacific is mostly that of paradise: beautiful people, white sand beaches, clear waters, relaxed atmosphere, gorgeous landscapes and sailing. Don't forget the hospitality of the Fijians and the local culture. Fiji is home to 900,000 citizens. It's a bucket list country along with Hawaii, French Polynesia and Vanuatu. The majority of Fijians live on the main island Viti Levu and in the capital city Suva.
|Monukiri and Monu islands, Fiji with its clear waters and deserted beaches.|
Climate change is still taking its vengeance out on the Pacific islands. Fiji was hit on Saturday, Feb 20th by a category 5 cyclone named Winston. Cyclone Winston is now the strongest cyclone to strike the archipelago of 300 islands. It is the second most destructive in the Pacific since Typhoon Haiyan destroyed parts of the Philippines particularly the town of Taclaban in 2013. Small islands like Fiji have long faced the danger of monsoons, cyclones and unpredictable tsunamis for hundreds of years. The Fijian people and government have warned the world of the dangers in ignoring or downplaying the human factors in climate change. Fiji's neighbours ie Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Micronesia, Maldives, Solomon islands and larger archipelagos like Indonesia and countries such as Bangladesh have also called on the world to take the threat seriously. They have all been bracing themselves for massive oceanic and nature related devastation with realistic preventable measures. Pacific island activists remain vocal on environmental issues before Paris summit. No matter the large amount of precaution and prepping, Cyclone Winston still caused damaged to many rural areas of Fiji. Some 29 Fijians have been declared dead and numerous people have been made homeless. Now, the Fijan government has warned that destruction of infrastructure and polluted water brought by the cyclone into Fijian towns and parts of the capital, may lead to diseases. Disaster aid groups, international NGOs and government are working quickly to provide clean drinking water and medical help to rural areas. Vanuatu survived the wrath of a major cyclone Pam last year March. Outside of the paradise image of Fiji and national social development policies, ordinary Fijians especially in the rural area lack of access to clean drinking water, lack of housing, dealing with ongoing poverty and yes, migration and emigration. Fiji is prepared to handle and fix the problems and issues.