Tropical Cyclone Winston made landfall on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu Saturday 20th Feb, with winds of up to 230 kilometres per hour with gusts of up to 325 kilometres per hour. This category 5 cyclone is thought to be the largest cyclone recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. The cyclone went to the south of Fiji’s second largest island Vanua Levu big but still left a destructive path.
With only one casualty recorded the emergency services are now surveying the full damage. There are growing reports that the casualty figure will increase.
The Fiji Times said it had received confirmation of damage to houses in Nausori, Korovou, Rakiraki, Ba, Savusavu, Taveuni and the Lau group.
“Houses have blown away, roof tops have gone … power lines have been broken and debris is scattered around in towns and cities,” the newspaper reported.
Major airlines flying between Australia and Fiji have cancelled today’s flights as a result of the cyclone.
The Red Cross has warned of flash flooding along the coast in the coming days and mudslides are also a concern.
The Government has declared a state of national disaster effective for 30 days, which will allow all government forces to be mobilised to help the clean-up effort. The cyclone is now heading out to sea.