National | Disaster

Tropical Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji

A state of emergency has been issued for the category 4 hurricane that devastated the Pacific island nation throughout the night.

Locals woke up to homes ripped in half and debris scattered around the island.

Operations Manager of Red Cross Fiji Eseroma Ledua says, “Most of the homes roofs were blown out and so were the kitchens that were built separately from the houses, a bit of damage on the agriculture and some accesses were blocked because of flooding.”

Flights to and from the famous tourist destination have been cancelled with hundreds of tourist trapped on the island. Air New Zealand has a flight to Fiji scheduled to leave at 2pm on Monday.

Cyclone Winston is reaching wind speeds of 225km per hour.  Mr Ledua says, “The majority of the damage that was recorded and also briefed this morning during the government briefing was recorded in the eastern group division and that's in Lomaiviti, Kadavu and the Lau group.”

Fijian Met Service says Winston is slowing moving west of the island heading for Viwa. Heavy rain swells and flooding is expected.

The Fijian government has issued a curfew to keep people safe, while they analyse the full extent of the damage by Cyclone Winston.

The Red Cross’s Operations Manager says, “There are teams that will be deployed next Tuesday by the government which Fiji Red Cross will be a part of too. But for the moment while we are waiting for that our teams are currently deployed around the central division.”