ShareThis Page
World

Fiji scrambles to restore power as Cyclone Winston kills 6

| Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, 9:03 p.m.

Fijians were finally able to venture outside Monday when authorities lifted a curfew, but much of the country remained without electricity in the wake of a ferocious cyclone that left at least six people dead and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Officials were scrambling to restore services and assess damage in remote parts of the Pacific Island chain.

Winds from Cyclone Winston, which tore through Fiji over the weekend, reached 177 mph, making it the strongest storm in the Southern Hemisphere since record-keeping began, according to the Weather Underground website.

The government imposed the curfew Saturday night and lifted it at 5:30 a.m. Monday. A 30-day declaration of a state of natural disaster remains in effect and empowers police to make arrests without warrants.

In a televised address to the nation Sunday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said many people have been left without power, fresh water or communications.

He said the police and military had been brought in to help with rescue operations and the general cleanup, and that government agencies were working overtime to clear roads and restore power.

“This is a time of sorrow, but it will also be a time of action,” Bainimarama said. “We will stand united in the face of this disaster.”

Tourism Minister Faiyaz Siddiq Koya said all tourists in Fiji are safe and that there was no significant damage to the majority of hotels on the main island. Fiji is a popular tourist destination, known for its beach resorts and scuba diving.

“Truth be told, we've gotten off pretty lightly here in the capital,” said Alice Clements, a spokeswoman for UNICEF.

The airport reopened Sunday to allow emergency flights. Many flights had been canceled the day before.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me