• On 20 and 21 February Category 5 Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a path of destruction across Fiji’s islands blowing off roofs, bringing down trees and powerlines, and flooding rivers.
• The cyclone is estimated to be one of the most severe ever to hit the South Pacific.
• 21 people have been confirmed dead.
• 4 people are missing.
• Whole villages have been destroyed on the island of Koro where a relief and assessment ship is being deployed.
• Schools are closed for a week to allow for clean-up and their use as evacuation centres.
• More than 8100 people are currently sheltering in evacuation centres
• A 30 day State of Natural Disaster has been declared
• International assistance has officially been requested by the Fiji Government.
On 20 and 21 February Category 5 Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a path of destruction across Fiji’s islands blowing off roofs, destroying buildings, flooding rivers and bringing down trees and power lines. The Fiji Government has confirmed that 21 people were killed. Aerial surveillance has suggested extensive damage in the east and north, particularly in the Lomaiviti Group. A government assessment and relief team is on its way to Koro Island (population 3,450) which was in the eye of the cyclone and saw whole villages destroyed. The nation-wide curfew was lifted this morning allowing many Fijians to see the scale of the damage to their country for the first time. Power is back intermittently in most parts of Suva but remains out across many parts of the country.
Telecommunications problems also persist and this is slowing the collection of impact data. More than 8,000 people are sheltering in evacuation centres around the country. Schools have been closed for the week and the Government has indicated that restoring education is its top priority for the response over the coming days.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.