NEWS

10 Dead After Monster Storm (Toll Likely To Rise)

Ten people are dead, two are missing and the death toll is likely to rise. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama released the figures last night as the scale of losses and
22 Feb 2016 10:57
10 Dead After Monster Storm (Toll Likely To Rise)
One of the villages in Lau badly hit by TC Winston. Photo: Royal New Zealand Air Force

Ten people are dead, two are missing and the death toll is likely to rise.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama released the figures last night as the scale of losses and destruction gradually emerged in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Communication problems have hindered detailed information reaching the National Disaster Management Office.

Earlier yesterday, the death toll was five, two on Ovalau, one in Qelekuro, Tailevu and one in Ra.

Acting Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho told a NDMO meeting last night that five more had just been confirmed dead in Ra.

Mr Bainimarama chaired the NDMO meeting after a New Zealand Air Force officer showed aerial shots of islands in the Lomaiviti after an Orion flew over the islands hit by the monster storm.

He said: “We have had a look at the photos that were taken by the New Zealand Orion this afternoon and looks like Koro has been totally devastated.”

“We haven’t seen any photos from Batiki, Nairai and we think those three islands in the Lomaiviti Group have also been the same as a result of the strong destructive force.” “We’ve heard that a report has come in from Ovalau that Ovalau too has been hit hard.

“I’m trying to find some ways to send some assistance to Koro for now. (More details on page 3).

The photos sighted by the Fiji Sun showed damage in southern Lau was less. Koro bore the full brunt of Winston’s fury.

All villages shown by the photos have been totally devastated. At its height, Winston was packing 230 kilometres an hour winds gusting to 325kmh.

Mr Bainimarama said development partners were  ready to help in relief and rehabilitation.

Esala Nayasi, acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said France was offering helicopters.

 

Other updates from NDMO earlier yesterday

  • Many homes, properties were destroyed/damaged in maritime islands;
  • Many schools damaged, in Tailevu North, Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki. Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy said the damage had been “massive”. ( QVS  students evacuated, more details inside);
  • Curfew ends  at 5.30am today. Public transport should resume today;
  • More rain is expected raising the threat of more flooding;
  • Flights and shipping services are expected to be back to normal today? Details inside; and
  • Hardly any report has come from the Yasawas and Mamanucas. Communication has been identified as a challenge.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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