Cyclone Winston: Grim reminder of life in a warming world.

NEW YORK–With widespread power outages and entire islands cut off from the mainland, reports on the impact of Cyclone Winston are still trickling out. Fiji representatives here held an emergency meeting last night with UN officials to begin the assessment process and relief packages are already arriving in country. The next hours and days will be crucial to ensure immediate needs are met and, of course, significant resources will be crucial to rebuilding moving forward. More information will be disseminated as it becomes available. In the meantime, Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, Maldives Permanent Representative to the UN and Chair of AOSIS, released the following statement on behalf of its members:

“We don’t yet know the full extent of the casualties or damage in the aftermath off Cyclone Winston. But we do know that it was the most powerful cyclone in the southern hemisphere on record. The storm missed a direct hit on Tonga, but still caused significant damage to housing there. Tragically, at least 28 lives have been lost in Fiji and that number will probably rise as outer islands are reached by rescuers. Though we can’t connect a direct relationship to climate change, scientists will tell you that warmer temperatures and warmer water produces stronger storms. For now, let’s call this the year’s first reminder of the urgent need to implement the Paris Agreement and support the decision on loss and damage with real resources.”