Feb 21, 2016

Cyclone Winston: Fiji super cyclone kills five, raises fears of health crisis

Fiji
by
Jane Wardell and Colin Packham
,
Reuters
The new hospital in the town of Ba lays ruined after Cyclone Winston swept through Fiji's Viti Levu Island, February 21, 2016. Photo: Jay Dayal/Handout, Reuters
The new hospital in the town of Ba lays ruined after Cyclone Winston swept through Fiji's Viti Levu Island, February 21, 2016. Photo: Jay Dayal/Handout, Reuters

Downed power lines and flooding are hampering relief efforts in Fiji after one of the most powerful storms recorded in the southern hemisphere tore through the Pacific island nation, flattening remote villages and killing at least five people.

Harsh winds and torrential rains tore up homes and cut power, water and communications links across the nation of about 900,000 people, although Suva, the capital, escaped the brunt after the storm changed direction at the last minute.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama confirmed the death toll and declared a 30-day state of emergency, with schools ordered to shut and a nationwide curfew extended until Monday morning.