As officials start to take stock of the devastating damage caused, it’s been confirmed the death toll from the huge category-5 cyclone that ripped through Fiji over the weekend, Cyclone Winston, has risen to at least 10.
One of the southern hemisphere’s most powerful cyclones ever, Fiji’s Western Division emergency operation center confirmed the number of deaths were mostly a result of flying debris and storm surges, while the UN believes more than 800 homes were destroyed.
Winds of up to 325km/h and waves 12m high left much of the country’s 900,000 citizens without power over the weekend, with hundreds spending Sunday night in evacuation centres after entire villages were wiped out.
“Many people have been left stunned and confused about what to do,” Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has said. “This is a time of sorrow but it will also be a time of action … we will reclaim what we have lost.”
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC at least 1,300 Aussies are registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as being in Fiji, but none are believed to be among those killed.
A curfew on flights is due to be lifted some time today, after officials cleared vital roads and the main airport overnight.
Virgin Australia is due to resume flights in and out of Nadi – the island’s main transportation hub – later today, while Jetstar is still assessing conditions after canning two flights between Sydney and Nadi earlier this morning.
Meanwhile, Australia has announced $5 million in emergency aid and Red Cross is currently seeking donations for emergency relief, which will go towards food, water, sanitation and shelter for all those affected.
If you’re in the position to donate, you can do so HERE.
Photo: Getty / Handout.