Barely a week after global celebrations for the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Cyclone Yasa ripped across Fiji with destructive winds of up to 345km/h.
Such strong cyclones in the Pacific islands were rare in the past, but have become increasingly common, intense and unpredictable due to climate change, according to observers.
Yasa is said to be the second powerful storm to hit Fiji this year.
Genevieve Jiva, Secretary for 350 Fiji committee and Pacific Climate Warrior, said: “We are literally fighting for our survival. We’ve lived through these cyclones twice this year. We were prepared this time, and stocked up on supplies as soon as we heard the news. But the damage is widespread. Villages, houses and crops were destroyed so close to the Christmas season. Instead of celebrating, we are now focused on rebuilding our lives. This is why I fight for climate justice.”
Joseph Sikulu, 350 Pacific Interim Managing Director, said: “It is ironic that the world celebrated the Paris Agreement barely a week ago even though most countries are not on track with their climate goals, while Pacific peoples live these realities.
“Villages destroyed, houses ripped apart, lives lost – this is climate change unfolding before our eyes, here and now. We can’t celebrate now, but our Pacific voices will persevere. We continue to call on governments to deliver on their Paris climate goals and take action to defund the fossil fuel industry – before we reach the point of no return.”