Cyclone Winston kills one in Fiji, Tonga Deputy PM sends message of encouragement

The extremely rare and most powerful cyclone ever recorded in world  history  battered Fiji islands with hurricane-force, killing one man and causing thousands to flee their homes.

Fiji’s Radio FM98.6 reported the victim was a man from Koro island. No further identification of the deceased was reported.

Residents in Fiji bore the brunt of Cyclone Winston this evening at about 8.30pm New Zealand time with winds gusting of up to 325kmh.

Meanwhile Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Hon Siaosi Sovaleni took to Facebook this evening and told Tongans in Fiji his government and the people of Tonga were praying for them in this time of difficulty.

“To [Tongans in Fiji] we are keeping the Fuaamotu Cyclone Warning operational so you can listen in..and also for the benefits of parents and [relatives] of our students in Fiji”, Hon Sovaleni said.

“The Emergency Operation Centre will still be operating 24×7 to keep track of Winston and try and monitor welfare of Tongans in Fiji.

“If you have any info about Tongans who are facing difficulties/ injuries do contact the Centre at 26340/ 28005”, Hon Sovaleni wrote.

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There were hundreds of Tongans in Fiji including students at the University of the South Pacific and employees at various organisations.

Tongans in Fiji reported power outage and how they felt the impact of the cyclone when it made landfall this evening.

Power out! time for candle n gas. Mei chips n puctionary by candle light. Hope every one is keeping safe.

Posted by Frank Koloi on Friday, February 19, 2016

Melemanu Fiu Bloomfield wrote on Facebook, “there are 6 [of] us in Nadi travellers apartment..keep us in your prayers..thinking of families and friends in Suva and all over Fiji”.

She later wrote, “We have no power..scary..we are with Tongans from Aust … Missing home..Glad Piutau is with us..”.

Sina ‘Aholelei Kami wrote that north and west of Rakiraki bore the brunt of Winston

Fakafeta’i hotau malu’i he Tamai Fakalangi! Praying for the people of Fiji..especially those at the North and West!

Posted by Sina ‘Aholelei Kami on Saturday, February 20, 2016

Few hours before the cyclone struck Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama released an official message warning Fiji residents to “ Be alert and be prepared”.

URGENT PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT The National Emergency Operation Center has encouraged the public to contact the…

Posted by Fiji Sun Online on Friday, February 19, 2016

“As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We must stick together as a people and look after each other”, the message read.

International flights to and from Fiji have been cancelled as the country’s weather service warned people to “expect very destructive hurricane-force winds”.

Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office director Akapusi Tuifagalele confirms a state of natural disaster now exists…

Posted by Fiji Sun Online on Friday, February 19, 2016

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