Tropical Cyclone Winston lashed Fiji killing scores of people

Feb 23, 2016 12:37 IST

The tropical cyclone Winston lashed Fiji with winds up to 330 kilometers per hour on 20 February 2016. The cyclone that was accompanied with torrential rain and strong winds killed at least 29 people.

The cyclone did a considerable damage across the main island Viti Levu and the island of Koro, which were directly hit by strong winds.

The Winston, a category five storm, is thought to be the biggest to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake while moving west away from Fiji. The cyclone left many cities without power and running water. It also destroyed homes and flooded the low-lying areas.

In the wake of Winston, the Fiji government led by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced a 30-day state of natural disaster giving extra powers to police to arrest people without a warrant.

Meanwhile, officials have been working urgently to assess and address the damage in maritime regions amid a nation-wide curfew that was lifted after 5:30am local time on 22 February 2016. The relief work was hampered due to power outages, fallen phone lines and blocked roads.

In lieu of damage caused by Winston, India has extended a package of one million US dollars as immediate assistance to Fiji.

Winston's estimated winds over Koro Island, Fiji, were equal to the estimated winds at landfall of the infamous Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys and stronger than Hurricane Camille's winds at landfall in 1969, though Camille's eyewall destroyed wind instruments along the Gulf Coast.

Fiji is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1100 nautical miles (2000 km; 1300 mi) northeast of New Zealand's North Island.

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Quick Digest

Who: Tropical Cyclone Winston

Where: Fiji

What: Struck

When: 20 February 2016

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