Fiji cyclone death toll rises to 29. The pacific nation, which was hit by cyclone Winston on last Saturday, has started a huge clean up. Officials are working to ensure that help reaches everyone.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said, “The death toll from Cyclone Winston continues to rise and reports of widespread damage are coming in from across Fiji.”
He added, “It is clear that Fiji faces a major cleanup and recovery operation”
According to BBC, the death toll in Fiji cyclone has risen to 29 during the weekend. The officials have warned the people that the cleanup might take months. They also have reported that many buildings are destroyed by the cyclone in Viti Levu Island and Koro Islands. Winston was not only the record breaking category 5 tropical cyclone that hit Fiji but also the strongest tropical cyclone which hit the Southern Hemisphere with winds of 184 mph (296kph).
On Tuesday the official death toll rose to 29 as information started coming from remote areas about people losing life in the most powerful storm to hit Fiji. Ewan Perrin, a government spokesperson informed that the new toll came after 8 bodies were found in Koro Island. Speaking about the devastation on the island, He commented, “It has pretty much [been] flattened.”
Four others are reported missing at sea. However, fatalities are not confirmed till now, reported The Guardian. Government, as well as, aid groups is trying to deal with critical needs like clean water, health supplies and emergency accommodations, as power lines, homes and jetties are destroyed in the storm.
The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said in a statement, “we ask for your patience and understanding. But as Prime Minister, I also want you to know that we will not rest until we have reached you and given you the helping hand you so badly need and deserve.”
A 30-day state of emergency has been declared in the country. The Prime Minister has ordered the emergency management officials to respond to the crisis.
The Australian government has also sent help with humanitarian efforts. The country has sent defence transport carrying personnel and equipment to Fiji.
GMA News Online, on the other hand, stated in its latest report that death toll hit 42 in Fiji. The report also cited government spokesman Dan Gavidi, who tweeted, “42 Fijians now confirmed dead — disaster officials continue to deploy team to help those affected across Fiji.”
The acting head of the Red Cross’s Pacific office Ahmad Sami said, “the numbers will continue to change as we have better access to information and establish communications.”