Families in Fiji Prepare for Impacts of Category 5 Cyclone Winston, Most Powerful Storm to Hit the Island Nation Since Records Began

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Washington, D.C. (February 20, 2015) — Cyclone Winston made landfall on the main island of Fiji today with estimated top win speeds of 195 miles per hour. It is thought to be the strongest storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, and initially made landfall on the island of Vitu Levu. The cyclone is reported to have caused flash flooding on the nation’s outer islands, including Vanua Levu.

In advance of the storm the Fijian government issued a list of 758 evacuation centers across the nation where people could take shelter, and they have now announced a state of emergency. The damage caused by the cyclone is yet to be ascertained, but it has been reported that local authorities have deployed assessment teams to the affected areas.

Save the Children has stockpiled emergency supplies to ensure children can get back to school as soon as possible. This includes school bags, classroom kits and child friendly spaces kits for evacuation centers if schools are damaged.

"This mega-storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage across Fiji, an island nation frequented by hundreds of thousands of holiday-goers every year," Save the Children Fiji CEO Iris Low-McKenzie said.

"We’re extremely concerned about the impact this will have on children, who are particularly vulnerable during emergencies," said Ms. Low-McKenzie. "We have teams standing by to assess the storm damage, as well as teachers preparing to support children in emergency centers."

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