Empowered Places > Sanctuaries > Adi Da Samrajashram > Cyclone Winston

Cyclone Winston
and Adi Da Samrajashram

Last updated: March 18, 2016

In response to the many inquiries we have been receiving about "Cyclone Winston" the category 5 Fijian cyclone of February, 2016, and its devastating impact on Adi Da Samrajashram, the sacred island of Naitauba, we have created this special presentation. Links where you can help or find further information are provided below. The full extent of the devastation on Naitauba is still being determined. We will be adding more to this presentation as it is becomes available. Please share this page with anyone you know who may be moved to help!


Cyclone Winston makes landfall at Taveuni, Fiji
Cyclone Winston makes landfall at Taveuni, Fiji,
shortly after striking Adi Da Samrajashram, February 20, 2016

Cyclone Winston makes landfall at Taveuni, Fiji,
shortly after striking Adi Da Samrajashram, February 20, 2016
(click image to enlarge)


This article has several sections:
  1. Introduction
  2. Devastation to Naitauba
  3. The path to recovery and how you can help

1. Introduction



Tropical cyclone Winston making landfall on Taveuni, Fiji, shortly after devastating Naitauba
February, 20, 2016

In late February, 2016, an immensely powerful and destructive storm — Tropical Cyclone Winston — lashed the Fijian islands for several days (especially the outermost islands, including Naitauba, which were passed over directly by the eye of the storm), wiping out entire villages, and causing great devastation to the entire country. Tropical Cyclone Winston was a category 5 cyclone — the strongest storm ever recorded in the entire Southern Hemisphere — with winds gusting to nearly 200 miles per hour, creating waves up to 40 feet high. The cyclone affected almost 350,000 of the 880,000 residents of Fiji, killing at least 42 people and leaving more than 14,000 in shelters around the islands. Officials expect that death toll to rise when they're finally able to reach outlying islands that were hit hardest by the powerful storm. Most of the people who died in the cyclone were hit by flying debris or were in buildings which collapsed. Many people had been left without power, fresh water or communications. A month-long state of disaster has also been declared by the Fijian government.

The following pictures will give you some sense of the devastation wrought by this storm to the Fijian Islands.


Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji

Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
(click image to enlarge)

Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji

Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
(click image to enlarge)

Cyclone Winston
Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji

Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
(click image to enlarge)

Cyclone Winston
Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji

Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
(click image to enlarge)

Cyclone Winston
Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji

Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
(click image to enlarge)

Cyclone Winston
Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji

Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji
(click image to enlarge)

Comprehensive report on the damage done to Fiji by Cyclone Winston
as of February 23, 2016

Summary of the known damage to Naitauba — Tropical cyclone Winston struck Naitauba on 6pm on February 19, 2016, causing great devastation. Longtime residents of Adi Da Samrajashram confirmed that they had experienced many cyclones on Naitauba, but had never seen anything like the force of this cyclone. Of the 190 buildings on Naitauba, nearly 150 were damaged (nearly 80% of all the buildings). On a sliding scale between minor damage to total destruction, 21 buildings were completely destroyed, 47 were seriously damaged (losing roof cover or walls), and another 83 incurred moderate to light damage. Only 42 buildings escaped with no damage. This gives some idea of the scale of the work that needs to be done to recover, in the short term and over time. Some of the temples and sacred places were severely damaged, including Aham Da Asmi Sthan. Extraordinary Eyes was completely destroyed. Adi Da's "My House" at Lion's Lap was damaged. Many building lost all or some of their roofs. The Fijian village of Ciqomi and the devotee village of Qaravi were greatly damaged. Literally thousands of trees are lying across the roads. The physical impact of the storm on the reef around the island is massive, and is compounded by the intense heat that occured before and after the storm. Most of the branching corals were reduced to rubble. There are also signs of bleaching on some of the remaining coral formations. That said, there are also signs of life, and evidence that a significant amount of live coral remains. Large coral heads remain intact. Even in the rubble, there are fragments of live coral that are starting to sprout new growth. The fish populations are still present.

The next section provides more detail.


2. Devastation to Naitauba

Cyclone Winston
The sacred island of Naitauba

Devotee residents have lived through many cyclones on Naitauba, but have never seen anything like the force of cyclone Winston and the damage it has caused. The damage from the storm is described as ten times worse than Cyclone Tomas (2010), which was utterly devastating, as many of you remember, and it took four years to fully recover from that storm. (For more about Cyclone Tomas, click here.)

The eye of the storm passed directly over Naitauba:

Cyclone Winston

There were no injuries or deaths on the island, a Miracle of Beloved Adi Da's Divine Grace. While devotees on the island are in utter shock and heart-broken at the scale of the devastation, they all continue to be strong, functional, and turned to Adi Da, despite the devastation.

The Outshining Brightness Temple (Adi Da's Divine Mahasamadhi site) only suffered minor damage. The "Brightness" Gates were blown over, but the concrete support structure for the gates remains intact.


the Turaga Dau Loloma, just before the cyclone
Adi Da giving Darshan to His devotees, in front of the gates to the "Brightness"
November 19, 2008

The Outshing Brightness, after the cyclone
The Outshining Brightness, after the cyclone

The Outshining Brightness, after the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

Extraordinary Eyes, the very first Temple that Adi Da established (on the day He came to Naitauba in 1983), has been completely destroyed.

Extraordinary Eyes, before the cyclone
Extraordinary Eyes, before the cyclone

Extraordinary Eyes, before the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

Extraordinary Eyes, after the cyclone
Extraordinary Eyes, after the cyclone

Extraordinary Eyes, after the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

The really heart-breaking news is that Aham Da Asmi Sthan, the Inner Courtyard, and the Silver Hall, all suffered significant damage. The structures and roofs held up well, but the storm surges broke through the shutters and doors and vents and there was significant water and storm debris intrusion. Most of the contents are okay, but the art suffered some damage, and there is a lot of debris that has to be removed. The Sukra Kendra at Aham Da Asmi Sthan suffered no damage, since it is higher up on the hill there.

The Inner Courtyard of Aham Da Asmi Sthan: before the cyclone
the Inner Courtyard of Aham Da Asmi Sthan: before the cyclone

the Inner Courtyard of Aham Da Asmi Sthan: before the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

The Inner Courtyard of Aham Da Asmi Sthan: after the cyclone
the Inner Courtyard of Aham Da Asmi Sthan: after the cyclone

the Inner Courtyard of Aham Da Asmi Sthan: after the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

Indigo Swan and Picture Perfect are okay. It was great to hear that the newly renovated and strengthened Picture Perfect held up with no problem, confirming that the structural design was adequate even in the most severe circumstances. The roof on Indigo Swan apparently raised up in the wind, and then settled back down again, but there was some rain intrusion there also as a consequence with some books damaged.

The bures on the hillside seem fine, but one bure that was in the lawn area past Picture Perfect was lifted up and relocated by the water some 100-200 meters away.

The roof of Da Ashvamedanath Bhavan has huge holes in it, but the Sukra Kendra there received only minor damage.

Samraj Mahal is okay, but the ground floor bathrooms and kitchen there were flooded by the storm surges with the tub there also being lifted up and relocated by the water. Upstairs was fine.

The carport was completely destroyed. Only a concrete slab remains. The remains of the carport are now up by Divine World-Teacher Mandir.

A huge number of trees (including old mangos) have been damaged or destroyed.

Devastation to the rain forest of Naitauba
It used to be all green
Devastation to the rain forest of Naitauba (aerial view provided by the Fijian government)

Devastation to the trees
Devastation to the trees on Naitauba (aerial view provided by the Fijian government)

Devastation to the trees on Naitauba (aerial view provided by the Fijian government)
(click image to enlarge)

Wharf
Devastation to the trees around the wharf. The wharf, a huge concrete and steel structure, lost 6-7 feet at the end, sheared off by the force of the winds.

Devastation to the trees around the wharf. The wharf, a huge concrete and steel structure,
lost 6-7 feet at the end, sheared off by the force of the winds.

(click image to enlarge)

Many of the farm crops were also destroyed.

Naitauba farms before the cyclone
Naitauba farms before the cyclone

Naitauba farms before the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)


Devastation to Naitauba farm crops and trees

The roads to Lion's Lap and the Matrix are blocked by fallen trees. It could be a week or more before they can clear the road to the Matrix. (One person took two hours yesterday to climb the road through the falling trees from the Matrix to the top of the hill.)

Adi Da's new House at Lion's Lap is okay, as is the Sukra Kendra there, but His old "My House" was damaged.

Lion's Lap
Lion's Lap

Lion's Lap
(click image to enlarge)

Indefinable lost its roof, but the ceiling remained, so the contents were not damaged. The entire Ashram moved all the contents yesterday to Mindless Company, after they were able to clear the path from Temple Adi Da to Joyfull Submission.

The Giver of Joy, the RSO residence in Qaravi, lost most of its roof.

No Doubt of God sustained only minor damage.

Temple Adi Da and Joyfull Submission incurred only minor damage. (A section of the roof at the old men's dorm was lost, though.)

In the devotee village, Qaravi, 3-4 residences were completely destroyed. Most of the rest lost their roofs but the walls are still standing. The Kitchen and the Clinic and the Stone Room are okay, and the Dining Bure roof and floor is intact. The men's and women's bathrooms in the village are okay, but the solar hot water heaters were blown away and are currently up in the trees. The island residents who lost their housing are moving temporarily to the retreat quarters at Joyfull Submission.

Qaravi, after cyclone (aerial view of the village, provided  by the Fijian government)
Qaravi, after cyclone (aerial view provided by the Fijian government).
Note how all the trees around the village are completely stripped.

Qaravi, after cyclone (aerial view provided by the Fijian government).
Note how all the trees around the village are completely stripped.

(click image to enlarge)

Qaravi, after cyclone
Qaravi, after cyclone

Qaravi, after cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

Hymns to Me lost its sliding doors but is otherwise okay.

Ciqomi has been damaged. There are 3 or 4 structures still standing at Ciqomi, and a couple more that seem likely to be able to be fixed in a few days once access is restored. So, the Fijian staff is sheltering in these. All the other buildings lost their roofs, but in many cases the walls are still standing. The Ciqomi residents have been working together to re-build some temporary structures so that all residents there may have at least interim shelter and accommodations.


Ciqomi, before cyclone: aerial view of the Fijian village

Ciqomi, after cyclone (aerial view of the village, provided  by the Fijian government)
Ciqomi, after cyclone (aerial view of the village, provided by the Fijian government).
Note how all the trees around the village are completely stripped.

Ciqomi, after cyclone (aerial view of the village, provided by the Fijian government).
Note how all the trees around the village are completely stripped.
(click image to enlarge)


Ciqomi, after cyclone

Ciqomi, after cyclone<span style="font-size=9px;font-weight=bold;">: next to the rubble that was their house
Ciqomi, after cyclone: next to the rubble that was their house

Ciqomi, after cyclone: next to the rubble that was their house
(click image to enlarge)

The Art Building suffered only minor damage, but the force of the cyclone was so great that they had to screw the outside door shut to prevent it from opening and put filing cabinets up against it in addition.

The Turaga Dau Loloma is on its side, presumably with major damage. The Vuli Vei (the back-up boat for the Turaga Dau Loloma) was moored at Turtle Cove and sunk in the storm in shallow water; it may be retrievable and repairable.


the Turaga Dau Loloma, just before the cyclone
the Turaga Dau Loloma, just before the cyclone

the Turaga Dau Loloma, just before the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

the Turaga Dau Loloma, after the cyclone
the Turaga Dau Loloma, after the cyclone

the Turaga Dau Loloma, after the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

the Turaga Dau Loloma, after the cyclone
the Turaga Dau Loloma, after the cyclone

the Turaga Dau Loloma, after the cyclone
(click image to enlarge)

There is now one punt operational so devotees can get around on water from the village to the Matrix and Lion's Lap.

Several devotees managed to reach the Matrix, walking by the beach at low tide. On the way they met a Ciqomi resident, the captain of the Turaga Dau Loloma, who seemed in remarkably good spirits given what has just happened. He said that the damage was severe at the Matrix. The damage in Ciqomi and Qaravi was caused by the wind; but the damage at the Matrix was clearly caused by water, both rain and storm surges from the sea. In this regard, it was great to hear that the newly renovated and strengthened Picture Perfect held up with no problem, confirming that the structural design was adequate even in the most severe circumstances.

Storm debris at the Matrix complex
Storm debris at the Matrix complex

Storm debris at the Matrix complex
Storm debris at the Matrix complex

The road to Nukusa is impassable currently, but it is a priority to open it as soon as possible. The crops at the farm are completely destroyed. (It is very important to gain access to Nukusa to restore the pumped water that serves the village and the Matrix from there, as well as to assess the damage to the rest of the boats.)

There is drinking water but the pipes are damaged, so there is no running water. Currently the water is being fetched in buckets.

The power is still off and will have to be turned on in a few days once the generator building is fixed, but we will be doing this very cautiously, because the downstream wiring is so damaged. In the meantime, we are trying to get a small generator from Ciqomi to power essentials like communications and radios. Most of the radios have lost their charges at this point, so communications within the Island are very limited. They hope to get a small generator operational tonight to at least charge the radios and satellite phones. At the Matrix, the generators are running at the power shed up the road, but the main feeder to the Matrix has been cut, probably by nearby trees being uprooted. They are still working to get the power back in Qaravi. Also, the power has been out for the last 24 hours in Suva. The situation in Fiji altogether is still obviously very fragile.

The Laundry Building lost most of its roofing.

Devotees on Naitauba have not been able to reach the neighboring island of Taveuni to check on the status of the devotees living there. (Naitauba has also been unable to get through to Suva; all communications towers must be down.)

The island is low on fresh food now, but fortunately there is plenty of stored food.


3. The path to recovery and how you can help

The path to recovery — Here are the priorities:

  1. The first priority on Naitauba is to restore basic needs: shelter, power, communications, running water, open roads, etc. Devotees are trying to turn on the generators and restore power, but there is great concern that damaged electrical wiring in houses that have been destroyed might cause fire when the power is turned on.

  2. The second priority is to gain access to fresh food. The residents need fresh food as soon as possible. They describe their diet currently as "oats and oats".

  3. Then will begin the huge task of rebuilding both the Sacred Holy Places and Domains, and all the housing and other facilities that have been destroyed. Therefore, there will be a desperate need for skilled people in the coming weeks and months (tree professionals, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc.). And major funding will be needed, given the scale of the destruction to pay for the destruction. (Insurance companies typically require a very expensive and onerous level of structural upgrades in order to insure buildings against cyclone damage, which most people cannot afford, including us. Our preference is to spend available money on upgrading buildings, rather than on insurance premiums.)

A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention, February 21, 2016
A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention
February 21, 2016. Thanks to everyone who participated!

A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention
February 21, 2016
. Thanks to everyone who participated!
(click image to enlarge)

A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention, February 21, 2016
A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention
February 21, 2016. Thanks to everyone who participated!

A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention
February 21, 2016
. Thanks to everyone who participated!
(click image to enlarge)

A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention, February 21, 2016
A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention
February 21, 2016. Thanks to everyone who participated!

A first worldwide fundraiser from The Mountain Of Attention
February 21, 2016
. Thanks to everyone who participated!
(click image to enlarge)

The first relief crew arrives in LAX Airport
The first relief crew arrives in LAX Airport (Los Angeles) on the way to Fiji
February 24, 2016.

The first relief crew arrives in LAX Airport (Los Angeles) on the way to Fiji
February 24, 2016.

(click image to enlarge)

The first relief crew arrives in LAX Airport
The first relief crew arrives in LAX Airport (Los Angeles) on the way to Fiji
February 24, 2016.

The first relief crew arrives in LAX Airport (Los Angeles) on the way to Fiji
February 24, 2016.

(click image to enlarge)

The second relief crew heading for Fiji
The second relief crew heading for Fiji
March 2, 2016.

The second relief crew heading for Fiji
March 2, 2016.

(click image to enlarge)

A New Zealand naval ship arrives, and offloads relief supplies via helicopter
A New Zealand naval ship arrives, and offloads relief supplies via helicopter
March 11, 2016.

A New Zealand naval ship arrives, and offloads relief supplies via helicopter
March 11, 2016.

(click image to enlarge)

Naitauba begins to bloom again
Naitauba begins to bloom again three weeks after Cyclone Winston
March 13, 2016.

Naitauba begins to bloom again three weeks after Cyclone Winston
March 13, 2016.

(click image to enlarge)

Volunteers arriving to help
Volunteers arriving to help.

Volunteers arriving to help.
(click image to enlarge)

Turaga Dau Loloma upright
The Turaga Dau Loloma is upright again!
March 18, 2016.

The Turaga Dau Loloma is upright again!
March 18, 2016.

(click image to enlarge)

Turaga Dau Loloma in use again
The Turaga Dau Loloma is in use again
May, 2016.

The Turaga Dau Loloma is in use again
May, 2016.

(click image to enlarge)

The Matrix temple complex
The Matrix temple complex

Cleaning sacred articles near the Matrix
Cleaning sacred articles near the Matrix.

Cleaning sacred articles near the Matrix.
(click image to enlarge)

Almost all of the roads have been cleared.
Almost all of the roads have been cleared of fallen trees.

Some of the chainsaws that did the job.
Some of the chainsaws that did the job.

Re-painting at Is-Da Happen
Re-painting at Is-Da Happen


How you can help — For those wanting to learn more or wanting to help, here are several resources:

  • Learn more about the sacred island of Adi Da Samrajashram — You can learn more here and here.

  • Provide financial support for relief efforts — You can contribute support here, using PayPal or credit card. If you would prefer to make an anonymous donation, or pay by check, contact Antonina Randazzo (antoninar@gmail.com). Note: If you are a resident of the United States, your contribution to "Adidam Holy Domains", our non-profit organization that funds all the Holy Sanctuaries of Adidam (including Naitauba), will be tax-deductible.

  • Come and help — Please, everyone, if you are a devotee of Adi Da, and are moved to come to Naitauba and help, consider coming on a service retreat to help repair Bhagavan Adi Da's most Holy Siddha Peetha. Think of people you know also, people with skills who may not necessarily be devotees even but might be willing to help. Get together with your friends and think of ways you could support people from each region to journey to Naitauba to assist. Please contact Antonina Randazzo (antoninar@gmail.com). Of greatest immediate need:

    • Tree professionals/surgeons

    • Carpenters

    • Electricians

    • Plumbers

    • Telecommunications experts

    • Other tradesman

    • One or more devotee art professionals to come and assess the status of the art

    • Anyone with a big heart and a sound body

    They have tents that can fit up to twelve people.

Our heart-felt gratitude to anyone who is moved to help in any way!


Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and The Mountain Of Attention used by permission of the copyright owner: Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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