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Fiji: Cyclone Winston Aftermath - Updated

By Various news sources. — last modified Feb 29, 2016 10:18 AM
A clean-up operation has begun after the most severe cyclone to hit Fiji in living memory killed at least 20.

Published: 2016-02-24 05:00:00
Topics: Weather
Countries: Fiji

Fiji: Cyclone Winston Aftermath - Updated

Savusavu on the northern Island of Fiji is normally a safe haven from Cyclones - sadly not this time around! Our thanks to Westside Rigging for this photo.

Update February 26th

From Westside Rigging in Savusavu:

Some times life isn’t fair….This is Savusavu on the northern Island of Fiji  (see photo) where they normally have a safe haven from Cyclones. Not this time around! Twenty two boats went up  ashore and 4 sunk. They have managed to get 2 boats off as of yesterday and possibly one today.

Denerau had no boats at their docks and the docks were fine, the boats went up into the mangroves there. Vuda had a little damage - 4  boats fell of  their hardstands.

It blew 185 miles an hour - second only to Hassan in the Philippines.

Bruce Vasconcellos - Westside Rigging and Wire Ltd.

Update February 24th

SUVA: The death toll from super-cyclone Winston jumped to 42 on Wednesday (Feb 24) as concerns grew for remote Fijian villages still waiting for help after the most powerful storm in the Pacific nation's history.

Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/scramble-to-reach-fiji/2543754.html

Posted February 22nd/23rd

From reports by the BBC - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35628181 , Vuda Marina - https://www.facebook.com/VudaMarinaFiji/ and Curly in Savusavu - http://curlycarswell.blogspot.com

Rescue workers said that number could rise as some of the worst-hit outlying islands have yet to be reached.

Thousands are now in evacuation centres while many parts of the country remain without power.

Cyclone Winston, which hit over the weekend, brought winds of over 320km/h (200mph), torrential rain, and waves of up to 12m (40ft).

The category-five storm - among the biggest ever to hit the southern hemisphere - moved westward after making landfall at 18:30 local time (06:30 GMT) on Saturday in the north of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. It made a direct hit to Vanua Balavu in the Lau Group before moving across the Vatu-I-Ra Channel making landfall on Viti Levu (main Island) and also the Yasawara Island Group.

It changed direction at the last minute, sparing the capital Suva the full force of its winds.

Aerial imagery showed some villages, particularly in outlying areas, were completely destroyed. A man in Viti Levu told Reuters the damage was so extensive that "it looks like a different country".

Vuda Point Marina situated on the western end of Viti Levu reported on their facebook page "Very, very strong winds (on Saturday night) with reports of 195 knot sustained winds gusting to 240 knots in the Koro Sea. According to the JTWC database, this was the strongest tropical storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Not sure how strong it was at Vuda but it sounded like a jumbo jet taking off. There has been some damage to a few unlucky yachts but most came out unscathed".

There were no major injuries from any people at the Marina and the team made an amazing effort, most of whom worked since 7am Sunday morning sacrificing their own families and properties to look after the yachts.

Curly Carswell, cruiser's friend and SSCA Cruising Station in Savusavu Fiji, posted the following on his blog Tuesday 23 February:

"Comms back up last night. Winds well in excess of 135 Knot's BUT Gusts hate to think how much over 135!!!!!!! Savusavu is a Disaster Area, Nawi looks naked; 22 Vessels up on rocks or aground, some badly damaged. High number of Local power boats upside down or sunk. Damage to housing and infrastructure major/major.....roading has been hit hard, no road apparently to Cousteau., Power out in many area's, probably 60 % of trees down. I called a meeting of all cruisers the day after TC Winston went through, very well attended, we are getting organized to help ALL affected yachts."

Sadly, a great many villages suffered greatly and the government has declared a state of emergency and called on private companies to help provide transport and relief supplies.

Officials had also put in place a nationwide curfew, giving police extra powers of arrest, but it was lifted on Monday.

Schools have been ordered to shut for a week, but the main airport has re-opened to receive humanitarian supplies and allow tourists to leave.

Australia and New Zealand have authorised the release of emergency aid supplies held in Suva. They have also supplied planes to help assess the damage from the air in remote areas.

If you are in the South Pacific area and would like to offer your assistance in the Disaster Response & Recovery work contact Sea Mercy at http://www.seamercy.org/FijiRelief

Calling all sailors in the South Pacific to join the Fiji recovery efforts following Cyclone Winston

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