20 Apr 2016

UNICEF says Winston response benefits from Pam lesson

12:18 pm on 20 April 2016

The head of the New Zealand branch of UNICEF says the response to Cyclone Winston in Fiji has been effective because everyone had learned lessons from Vanuatu last year.

When Cyclone Pam devastated much of Vanuatu in March 2015, the NGO community came under heavy criticism for doing its own thing and bypassing the government in its response.

But Vivienne Maidaborn said everyone learned from what happened in Vanuatu, and the response in Fiji had been much smoother.

UNICEF readies aid for cyclone victims

UNICEF readies aid for cyclone victims Photo: supplied

She said the Fiji government had taken effective control of the response.

"A completely different kettle of fish. This is a super well organised government with quite a strong centralist approach. So here the army were the main distribution network, so NGOs that flooded Vanuatu -- small NGOs with no background there, just arrived with some money or some goods -- that just didn't happen in Fiji. "