TC Winston death toll now 42

TC Winston death toll now 42

By Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay Deo, Swastika Singh and Sem
Wednesday 24/02/2016
An aerial survey of Mavana Village in Lau after TC Winston. (Photo: NZ High Commission)

The death toll for Tropical Cyclone Winston is now 42.

This has been confirmed by the National Disaster Management Office, Inia Seruiratu.

Seruiratu says the breakdown of deaths by divisions provided so far is: 15 in the Eastern Division, 13 in the Western Division, 6 in the Central Division and 2 in the Northern Division.

Meanwhile a 10-month-old baby is missing in Koro.

The baby's father was swimming to take the baby to higher ground during the height of the cyclone on Saturday. 

However the baby was swept away by strong currents.

The death toll is expected to increase further. 

Fijivillage has also received information that some children who needed urgent medical attention have been taken under the care of the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. 

Other details are not available at this stage.

We are also trying to get the status of the two sisters who lost their mother in Qelekuro, Tailevu.

The woman had taken her daughters, a 10-year-old and a 1-year-old, to safety during the height of Cyclone Winston. 

The mother then told her elder daughter to stay with her young sister while she would go and grab some items for the girls.

She was then trapped in strong winds and flood waters. 

The woman was found dead with a bag of clothes for her two daughters.

DISMAC Director Akapusi Tuifagalele says the two girls are currently staying with close relatives.

A team of emergency operations officials are expected to depart for Vanuabalavu today to assist in relief efforts on the island.

Click Here for some of the photos 

Minister for National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu says they established communication with the people of Vanuabalavu yesterday.

Aerial footage taken by the New Zealand Aircraft Orion show that at least more than 20 houses were badly damaged in Vanuabalavu.

This number is expected to increase when the team carries out a ground assessment.

Seruiratu says the focus is on the worst affected areas.

Members of the RFMF being deplpyed for Vanuabalavu in Lau to assist in relief efforts.

A month of ration supplies is now being distributed in Koro. 

This was one of the worst affected areas.


The Ministry of Education will be given two helicopters provided by the Australian and New Zealand governments to carry out an aerial damage assessment of affected schools in Lomaiviti and the coastal areas of Ra.

The Penang Primary School is Rakiraki (Photo: Rizwan Asgar)

About 64 schools are badly damaged.

This number is expected to increase.


The Fiji Corrections Service will be deploying prisoners to clean up Ba town and the coastal areas of Tailevu.



The Agriculture Ministry is already carrying out its assessment and the first form of assistance that will go to farmers is the provision of seedlings.



Monster Cyclone Winston has left a massive trail of destruction in Tailevu, Ra, Tavua, Lautoka, Ba, Yasawa, Bua, Savusavu, Lomaiviti and Lau.         

Legend FM, FM96, Viti FM, Navtarang and Radio Sargam has now started a Radio Appeal to assist the people severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

We call on the people to come out and give cash donations to assist our fellow Fijians who are in desperate need of food, water and shelter.

All cash donations can be made to the Communications Fiji Limited Appeal Account

Bank Account Name: Communications Fiji Limited Appeal Account  

Bank Account:           9800 935 794

Bank Name:               Westpac Banking Corporation

Bank Branch:             1 Thompson Street, Suva, Fiji Islands

Bank Swift Code:        WPACFJFX

BSB:                         039-001 

You can also bring your cash donations to the home of Legend FM at 231 Waimanu Road.

All cash donations collected will then be coordinated through the National Disaster Management Office to assist those in urgent need of food, water and shelter.


Photos of people coming in to donate of what little they have to help our fellow Fijians afftected by Cyclone Winston. #CFLRadioAppeal

Posted by Fijivillage on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Helping hand:

Everyone is coming together to lend a helping hand in this major national effort to assist people in desperate need of urgent help.

Three more Australian Defence Force aircraft will arrive at Nausori International Airport today, carrying relief supplies.

An MRH‑90 helicopter and Australian Defence Force personnel will also arrive later today as part of the Australian Government’s assistance to Fiji in the wake of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The Australian government has provided 5 million Australian dollars in aid to assist in our efforts to help the people severely affected by Cyclone Winston.

The Aid from Australia (Photo: Australia in Fiji)

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced that the NZ Navy’s Multi‑Role Vessel, the HMNZS Canterbury will be sent to Fiji to support relief and recovery efforts following Tropical Cyclone Winston.

McCully says Cyclone Winston has caused extensive and widespread devastation across Fiji, taking lives, and destroying homes and infrastructure. 

He says New Zealand is committed to supporting the Government and people of Fiji as they respond to this disaster and this is reflected in the further deployments they are announcing today.

McCully says the HMNZS Canterbury will depart Auckland this weekend loaded with essential supplies such as building materials, water storage tanks, and medical supplies. As well as relief supplies, it will carry helicopters and medical and engineering personnel.

A further contingent of NZ Defence Forces and New Zealand Fire Service engineers will depart from Ohakea today to support the Fiji authorities with repairs to public buildings and critical infrastructure.

New Zealand Defence Force C‑130s are already delivering relief supplies and equipment in Fiji, and the P3 Orion continues to carry out regular reconnaissance flights.

McCully says New Zealand will continue to do all it can to help and they will stand with Fiji in the aftermath of this disaster.

The Aid from NZ (Photo: Facebook)

Digicel pledges $150K:

Digicel has pledged $150,000 towards the relief and rehabilitation required after the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Fiji, Darren McLean says an early response is needed to help our country get back on its feet in this time of crisis.

McLean says Digicel will donate $100,000 to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and a further $50,000 which will be used towards relief and rehabilitation in coordination with the National Disaster Management Office.

He says there has been a huge amount of damage in the North‑West of Viti Levu, Koro, Lomaiviti Group and up in the North.

McLean says he has seen the situation first hand while surveying the damage to Digicel’s towers yesterday.

A home in Volivoli, Rakiraki destroyed in TC Winston (Photo:Kapil Karunesh Nadan)


Family pleads for assistance to farewell a loved one

A family of Naboutini, Sabeto is pleading for urgent assistance to farewell one of their loved ones.

16-year-old Priyansha Payal who was an asthma patient died after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Payal and her family members were inside their house on Saturday night when the roof blew away.

Payal's father, Pradeep Kumar says four of them then went inside the washroom and stayed there overnight. 

He says Payal got wet from the rain and had fever next day.

Payal passed away on Monday.

Kumar says he does not have anything left and is facing major difficulties in making arrangements for his daughter's funeral.

73-year-old dies

“When are you coming home son?”

73-year-old, Mangamma Nair of Ellington, Rakiraki repeatedly asked this question to her son, Satendra Nair whenever the two talked to each other on the phone.

Mangamma Nair sustained severe injuries and died inside her house in Ellington on Saturday night when Tropical Cyclone Winston was making landfall in Rakiraki. Mangamma was bedridden for the past few months and was inside the house with two close family members.

Satendra Nair who lives in Suva told Legend FM News today that he used to spend time with his mother in Rakiraki every weekend.

Nair says he last spoke to his mother last Wednesday and his mother asked him the same question.

Nair has thanked the Rakiraki Town Council and the Fiji Police Force who helped in retrieving his mother’s body and getting her across to Suva.

Mangamma Nair’s funeral will be held at the Vatuwaqa cemetery tomorrow.

Man dies due to excessive loss of blood

A man died in Qerelevu, Ba due to excessive loss of blood after he was hit by a louver blade during Tropical Cyclone Winston.

A resident from Qerelevu Lawrence Mangaru says the elderly man who is from Rakiraki was working as a labourer on a cane farm in Qerelevu.

Mangaru adds the roof and walls of the house where the man was living, were blown away on Saturday night due to strong winds.

The man was hit by a louver blade and sustained serious injuries. He died on Sunday morning.

He adds two people need urgent medical assistance after they sustained serious injuries on Saturday night.

A man is suffering from a shoulder fracture after a branch fell on his shoulder while another person has fractured his leg.

Mangaru says 50 families are in urgent need of food supplies, water, shelter and clothes after their houses were badly damaged in the Cyclone.

He adds some people are taking shelter at the Outback Hotel which is also badly damaged by the cyclone while some are taking shelter under a tarpaulin.

Mangaru says he has given some food and clothes which he had in the hotel, to the needy people as they have nothing left.

Mangaru says Tabatolu road that goes to Ba town is closed due fallen trees and Ba town is also closed.


CFL engineers hard at work restoring coverage across Fiji

Following devastating Tropical Cyclone Winston, Communications Fiji Limited's engineering team has been hard at work restoring coverage across Fiji.

CFL's General Manager Ian Jackson says CFL maintained coverage throughout the cyclone in the Central Division but coverage was lost along with all other communication providers in the west and the north when our digital links went down.

Jackson says the CFL team managed to restore coverage in the Sigatoka and Lautoka/Nadi areas Sunday afternoon and last night Northern division coverage returned once CFL's linking partner Vodafone Fiji was able to restore links to the North.

Jackson says the Vasavaruru mast in Ba has collapsed but CFL is aiming to get back on air with a temporary mast this weekend.

CFL's Managing Director, William Parkinson says after 30 plus years of broadcasting in Fiji, we have never experienced a cyclone like Winston.

Parkinson says we engineer for cyclones but Winston destroyed sites that have withstood numerous previous cyclones. 

He says the CFL team has responded again to the challenge and we have been able to restore services quicker than anyone else in the market.

Part of CFL's storage facility for the broadcasting tower that was damaged in TC Winston

Needing Assistance:

About 300 people of Nadarivatu need urgent assistance as they have been badly affected by Cyclone Winston.

Ansar Shah who witnessed the horrific scene of the cyclone told Fijivillage how he watched the roof of Nadarivatu High School being blown away by the strong winds.

Shah says the villagers in Nadarivatu have lost most of their belongings and are now in urgent need of assistance.


Government Priorities:

Minister for National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu says their immediate priority is to address the basic needs of the people severely affected by Cyclone Winston.

Seruiratu says they are also gathering information on the number of people who desperately need food and water.


Prime Minister assures the nation

Let us all come together and help our fellow Fijians who are in desperate need of assistance after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

In his national address, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is calling on everyone to assist in this national effort to overcome any obstacles and reach out to those in need.

Bainimarama says all donations will be coordinated through the National Disaster Management Office to avoid duplication.

Bainimarama says unfortunately the recovery process will take time, perhaps a long time as almost no part of our country has been left unscarred.

He says they are doing their best to reach people.

Bainimarama has asked people for patience and understanding and says they realise the desperate position the people are in.

FNPF is also making $1000 available to its members for immediate disaster relief, with an additional $5000 available for home repairs. For those who have experienced even greater damage, the FNPF will also offer greater assistance through the housing allocation fund so that they can rebuild their homes and put this disaster behind them as soon as possible.

He will also make an announcement in the coming days regarding a specific package to assist those who have lost their homes or whose homes have been damaged and need repairs.

Bainimarama adds it is time for Fiji to fight back, a time to stand together as one people and rebuild our country.


Evacuation Centres:

13,193 people are currently sheltering at 274 evacuation centres around the country.

4,880 people are staying at 122 evacuation centres in the Central division, 6,483 people are staying at 110 evacuation centres in the Western division, 2035 evacuees are staying at 33 centres in the Northern division while 514 people are staying at the evacuation centres in the Eastern division.



About 64 schools have been badly damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

This number is expected to increase further.

QVS after TC Winston.


Homes Damaged:

315 homes have been destroyed in Lomaiviti while 65 houses were partially damaged.

More reports are expected from all the divisions as the DISMAC assessment teams are on the ground.


PM Visits Evacuation Centre

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama gave some food ration packs to the people taking shelter at Nasinu Sangam School in Narere earlier this afternoon.

There are nine families staying at the evacuation centre after they were affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston.


Rebuilding Stage:

The government is hoping to get international assistance to rebuild the homes of those people who lost everything after Tropical Cyclone Winston and do not have any other means to build their houses again.

DISMAC Director, Akapusi Tuifagalele says they need immediate international assistance to ensure that the people who are severely affected, are provided with temporary shelter.

Tuifagalele says the rebuilding phase will be a massive task.

Calls have been made for everyone to work together to provide the much needed assistance to our fellow Fijians who are in desperate need of food, water, clothing and shelter.



Raijieli Yabakidrau a 46-year-old women from Kade village in Koro will always remember their big water tank outside their house for saving her life from the Monster Cyclone Winston.

Yabakidrau was still looking for her husband when Cyclone Winston started hitting Koro Island at midday on Saturday.

She managed to find her husband and two daughters a few minutes later as they witnessed houses being torn apart from destructive winds.

Little did Yabakidrau know that the house they were looking to shelter in was already destroyed and its family members were hiding under the floor.

Her husband then told her to find any other place where they found their big water tank that protected them the rest of the night.

Yabakidrau could not even feel the pain of the iron roof that struck her leg as she only wished to stay alive.

Around 200 people are living in Kade village and only three houses are left where they are all staying in.

From Saturday night, villages are surviving from breadfruit and other left over food they have left.

About nine people in the village were badly injured are have been treated by the Health officials who arrived in Koro Island with the DISMAC team yesterday.



Many people are badly affected in Rakiraki.

The Advisory Councillor for Volivoli East and West and Rarapatu,

Divendra Prasad says they have received information that an elderly woman who was bedridden died inside her house on Saturday night when Rakiraki was feeling the full brunt of the Cyclone.

He said the woman was inside her house with her daughter-in-law in Ellington when the roof blew away in strong winds and the elderly woman died because of severe injuries.

Prasad said it is a very difficult situation for everyone and people are crying nearly everywhere.

He said most of the houses have been badly damaged in Volivoli, Barotu, Ellington and other nearby areas.

Prasad said people are in urgent need of basic food items.

61-year old-Prasad said that they had thought that this Cyclone will only do little damage.

Prasad who lives in Volivoli says the roof of his house was blown away like a piece of paper.

He says he and his family members just held each other in one of the rooms and waited for the winds to ease.

According to Prasad, a number of shops in Rakiraki town have also sustained major damages.



Despite the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston, people are still helping each other to get their lives together.

Dinesh Sharma of Varadoli, Ba says people in their community are helping each other.

Sharma says people are helping in repairing what ever they can, clearing trees from rooftops and cleaning compound.

Almost all houses in Varadoli, Ba have sustained damages. 

He says FEA posts are down, sugarcane planatations are damaged and some fields still have water in them.

Sharma says food supplies are low and the town is closed.

He adds he has never witnessed anything like this in his life.

A house in Ba with its roof blown off by TC Winston.



A family of four in Lakena Nausori is still in shock as the family has lost it's sole breadwinner after Monster Cyclone Winston.

42-year-old Premila Devi says the roof of their house was blown away in strong winds on Saturday and they were forced to take shelter at her mother's house in the same area.

Devi says her 51-year-old husband, Brij Bhan had gone to check their house yesterday when he suddenly collapsed.

The mother of three says her husband must have been stressed thinking how he was going to support his family.

Devi says she does not know how she will support her three children.

She is pleading to members of the public for help as the family is left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.



"Im grateful that we made it through unharmed".

This is according to Noleen Hazelman who shared her experience to Fijivillage when Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Savusavu.

Hazelman who lives in Rava Estate says the winds were very strong and they thought that their house would be blown away.

She says they are lucky to survive Monster Cyclone Winston.


Yacata Island:

Villagers of Yacata Island are heavily dependent on the only canteen on the Island that is giving out free food to the people.

Tomasi Sokocabebula who works in Kaibu Island but took shelter in Yacata Island on Saturday night says about 28 houses were badly damaged in the area.

He says the villagers are reminded to help one another as they do not have enough food and water on the Island. 


Roads update:

A number of roads remain closed around the country.

The Fiji Roads Authority says the Savusavu Jetty, Nabouwalu Jetty, Taveuni Jetty, Koro Jetty and Nabouwalu to Wailevu roads are still closed.

The Sigatoka Valley Road and Kavanagasau roads are partially open to traffic.

The Queens Highway and the Kings Highway is open.

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