A state of emergency has been declared in Fiji as tropical Cyclone Winston made landfall on the country’s main island, with estimated wind gusts of up to 195mph (315km/h). The category five storm is thought to be the strongest ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, and is the strongest Fiji has ever experienced. An elderly man from Nabasovi, Koro Island is reported to have died as a result of the storm. Fiji Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC) officer Vatia Vasuca told FBC news the man died after a roof top fell on him.
Cyclone Winston began to make landfall on the main island of Vitu Levu after a national curfew took effect at 6pm local time. It had earlier sunk boats and caused flash flooding on the nation’s outer islands, including Vanua Levu. It is carrying average winds of 220km/h, with gusts of up to 315km/h recorded, according to Fiji’s Meteorological Service. The Fijian government issued a list of 758 evacuation centres across the nation of just under 900,000 people. The country’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, said on Saturday that the island’s evacuation centres were operational and the government was prepared to deal with a potential crisis. READ MORE