Yasa’s climate-charged 345 km/h winds cut a path of destruction through Fiji’s two major islands

SYDNEY, Dec 18 2020 - Tropical Cyclone Yasa struck with wind gusts up to 345 km/h overnight as it tore through Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, destroying homes and schools and forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Despite the high wind speeds, Yasa was downgraded to a strong Category 4 storm, the Fijian Government said as it warned of a 3m storm surge and waves up to 14m or higher. [1]

“The Pacific is once again wearing the devastating toll of the world’s lack of action on climate change, as Cyclone Yasa destroys property and devastates Fijian communities,” Geenpeace Head of Pacific Joseph Moeono-Kolio said.

Greenpeace’s Te Mana o Te Moana: The State of the Climate in the Pacific report recently revealed that climate change is making cyclones more intense, leading to devastation across the Pacific.

“Climate change is a human issue. Storms like Cyclone Yasa, supercharged by the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas have destroyed valuable Pacific farmland and threatened our food security, dented our tourism industry, and destroyed our homes.

“Pacific leaders have been calling for stronger climate action from major coal users and exporters like Australia for decades – and now the Pacific is bearing the brunt of our Federal failure on climate change.

“Australia must commit to net-zero emissions by 2040 and rapidly increase the uptake of safe and reliable renewable electricity to help protect Australians and those in the Pacific from extreme weather events.”

Pacific leaders have consistently called for Australia and other major economies to reduce their emissions in line with the 1.5-degree target under the Paris Agreement. 

Just last week Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama used the Pacific Islands Forum’s virtual summit to make the point, saying that he refused “to let Fijians and our Pacific Island sisters and brothers be some sacrificial canary for coal-burning countries and high-emitting companies.” 

 

Notes

[1] https://www.facebook.com/FijianGovernment/ 

Download and read Greenpeace’s Media Briefing on Cyclone Yasa and Climate Change

Download and read Greenpeace’s recent report Te Mana O Te Moana: State of the Climate in the Pacific 2020

 

Contact

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]