Editor's Note: Thanks to Managing Editor Serah Pettigrew for assembling this blog.
After being hammered by cyclone Winston with winds of 230km per hour, and gusts of up to 325 km/h Fiji, has been left with homes and livelihoods destroyed. Many Fijians are still cut off from utilities, telecommunications, and essential medical services.
Remote islands such as Koro, which sustained some of the worst damage, can only be accessed by helicopter.
Humanitarian aid is pouring in from foreign governments such as China, Australia and New Zealand. The disaster officials are currently deploying teams across the country to areas affected such as Ovalau, the Lau Group and Koro. The disaster relief teams are being led by Republic of Fiji Military personnel.
According to a report from ABC (Australia) more than 1,000 homes were destroyed and 500 were partially damaged in Rakiraki alone. Situated on Viti Levu's north coast, it bore the brunt of the cyclone's winds. The Fijian government estimates hundreds of others homes were also destroyed. Currently 14,000 people are in relief centers and it's estimated that as many as 80 per cent of the islands' 900,000 people are impacted in some way.
Urgent efforts are under way to provide medical care for the injured. Water is being distributed along with food, and shelter.
Restoration of electricity and communications are also a high priority.
Cheerieann Wilson, a Desk Editor at Fiji Television, said that the "most difficult interview" she had to do as a journalist was with couple (see photo above) who lost their 10 month old child during the cyclone. "It’s hard when you are a mother as well," said Wilson. "Pray for them when you sit with your families in your warm home, dry clothes and that second helping at the dinner table."
Bottom two photos courtesy of Cheerieann Wilson, Desk Editor, Fiji Television