Aerial view of houses destroyed by Cyclone Winston on Fiji's Koro Island, 24 Feburary 2016. Photo: Brant Cumming / ABC News

By Liam Fox and Michael Walsh
24 February 2016

(ABC) – The death toll from super-cyclone Winston that hit Fiji on the weekend has reached 42, with reports emerging entire villages have been wiped out on some remote islands.

The Fijian Government confirmed the death toll, saying it feared the number would rise further as relief teams reach isolated communities.

"Forty-two Fijians now confirmed dead - disaster officials continue to deploy team to help those affected across Fiji," government spokesman Dan Gavidi tweeted.

The acting head of the Red Cross's Pacific office Ahmad Sami said more fatalities were coming to light as government and aid agencies sent back information from remote communities.

"The numbers will continue to change as we have better access to information and establish communications," he said.

Koro Island, which lies in the Koro Sea between Fiji's two largest islands, was one of the worst-hit by Cyclone Winston on the weekend.

Aid is slowly arriving on the island but resident Serepe Pela, who lives in Nasau village, said more assistance was desperately needed.

"They need their houses to be constructed. At present all houses were ruined by Cyclone Winston," he said.

"And foods, currently the food security level at Nasau is 5 per cent to 10 per cent.

"Maybe by next week there will be no more food."

Other residents on Koro Island told local media how several people were killed by huge waves whipped up by the cyclone.

The scale of the devastation is becoming clearer as authorities make contact with smaller islands impacted by the category five storm. [more]

Cyclone Winston: Fiji death toll reaches 42 with reports entire villages wiped out on remote islands



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