Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2016

Tropical Cyclone Winston prompts emergency in Fiji; 20 confirmed dead

Aerial view of tropical cyclone winston damage in Fiji
An aerial view of Cyclone Winston damage in Fiji (NZDF/Facebook via Stuff)
A Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston has claimed lives of atleast 20 people in Fiji, making a record of the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone in the South Pacific archipelago. 

Tropical Cyclone Winston made landfall along the north coast of Fiji's Viti Levu Saturday evening with packing estimated maximum sustained winds of 180 mph, the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) confirmed.

Atleast 10 people died in the Western Division, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) reported quoting National Disaster Management Office Director Akapusi Tuifagalele. Seven people died in Ra Province, three in Nadi, two on Ovalau Island, and one on Koro Island.

According to Fiji Red Cross Society, Koro Island has been hit hard by Tropical Cyclone Winston and needs immediate assistance.

The Fiji National University will be closed for the next two days. The government has declared a 30-day state of natural disaster (state of emergency) and a curfew.