Monday, February 29, 2016

Fiji cyclone disaster 'almost unprecedented'

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully left for Fiji Monday to discuss further aid to the cyclone-battered Pacific island nation.

McCully left as Fiji appealed to the United Nations for immediate assistance to help its recovery from Tropical Cyclone Winston, which killed at least 42 people when it struck earlier this month.

"The damage to property and loss of life caused by Cyclone Winston in parts of Fiji is almost unprecedented in the Pacific," McCully said in a statement.

The New Zealand government had given a total of 3.2 million NZ dollars (2.11 million U.S. dollars) to the relief effort and New Zealand Defence Force vessels, aircraft and personnel were helping deliver supplies and repair critical infrastructure.

"While in Fiji I will meet with New Zealand response staff and hold meetings with the Fiji government to gain an understanding of what the longer-term needs in Fiji might be," McCully said.

An estimated 59,000 people, more than 6 percent of Fiji's population, are reportedly living in evacuation centers.

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