Cyclone-hit remote Fiji islands begin to receive aid, death toll 42
Fijians in remote and coastal villages are finally get aid, after a power cyclone that killed more than 40 people.
The Fijian government and international aid agencies reached outer islands and villages on Wednesday, and Australia and New Zealand said they were ready to deploy helicopters to reach other areas that remained cut off.
The death toll has crept up in the days since Cyclone Winston struck Fiji late on Saturday as communication has gradually been restored with the outer reaches of the archipelago that is home to some 900,000 people.
Thousands of people are still sheltering in evacuation centres, their homes destroyed by winds or flooded by the most powerful storm to ever strike a Pacific nation.
An emergency response team from the International Red Cross reached the outer island of Koro, the seventh-largest of Fiji's 300 islands and one of the worst hit, by ship on Tuesday evening.
* Unicef NZ launches emergency Fiji appeal as aid agency begins damage assessment
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* What you need to know
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* Cyclone Winston: Photos and videos
* NZ government responds with an Orion and $59K in urgent aid
"We don't know how many jetties are destroyed on the outer islands and whether ships carrying aid can land," said Dylan Quinnell, a spokesman for Care Australia in Fiji's capital Suva.
"We have also sent two P3 Orion surveillance aircraft and they will be carrying out daily assessment of the damage particularly in those outlying islands," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told parliament.
The Fijian agriculture ministry told local media the cyclone has completely destroyed crops across the island, while charity Save The Children said scores of schools have been destroyed or badly damaged. Thousands of Fijians live, learn and work in tin or wooden shacks in low-lying coastal areas.
Aid workers have warned of potential outbreaks of the Zika and Dengue viruses, both carried by mosquitoes which could breed in the stagnant water left by the storm.
HOW CAN YOU HELP FIJI?
To help via the Unicef emergency appeal, visit unicef.org.nz/fiji or text FIJI to 2923 to make a $3 donation