Seven people are also missing. Cyclone Winston inflicted extensive damage on many islands. Smaller villages across Fiji will have suffered the most. Approximately 80 percent of the nation’s 900,000 people lost power. Communications were temporarily lost with at least six islands. Hundreds homes were destroyed. All schools across Fiji suspended classes for a week. The government declared a state of emergency that will be in effect for 30 days.
This was the most powerful storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia provided an immediate relief package worth A$5 million on February 22. The government of New Zealand provided financial help too. Getting roads cleared and secured will take time, Fiji’s authorities estimated. Nadi International Airport reopened after being closed for two days. Fiji, an archipelago collectively about the size of New Jersey, lies in the South Pacific Ocean some 1,800 miles from Australia’s east coast.