Fiji Cyclone Death Toll Hits 20

Fiji Cyclone Death Toll Hits 20Fiji Cyclone Death Toll Hits 20

The death toll from a ferocious cyclone, which tore through Fiji over the weekend, has risen to 20 as authorities on Monday began to get a grasp on the scale of the disaster and deploy aid to hard-hit outer islands.

Authorities were still having trouble communicating with some islands, including places like Koro Island that suffered some of the worst damage. And more than 6,000 residents across Fiji were staying in emergency shelters after their homes were broken or swamped, CNN reported. Winds from Cyclone Winston, which tore through Fiji over the weekend, reached 285 kph, making it the strongest storm in the Southern Hemisphere since record-keeping began, according to the Weather Underground website.

“Getting emergency supplies to the group’s far-flung islands and remote communities was the government’s top priority,” said Ewan Perrin, Fiji’s permanent secretary for communications.

Home to 900,000 people, Fiji has more than 100 inhabited islands.

Perrin said most of the people who died in the cyclone were hit by flying debris or were in buildings that collapsed.

“A handful of people had also been hospitalized with severe injuries,” he said.