At least 21 dead after Cyclone Winston rips through Fiji
The death toll caused by Cyclone Winston in Fiji rose to at least 21 on Monday, as rescue workers warned the number of dead could rise, according to media reports.
The storm, which made landfall Saturday, is the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere.
More than 8,000 people sought refuge in more than 50 evacuation centers around the Pacific island nation, The Fiji Times reported.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama called for officials to deploy resources to affected areas immediately. The government appealed for donations for Fijians left homeless by the cyclone.
"There are Fijians out there who are without water, without a roof over their heads, without food and without essential services,” Bainimarama said in comments posted to the government’s Facebook page. ”It is our duty to determine their needs and provide them with the support they need as soon as possible.”
The U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center said gusts from Cyclone Winston reached 224 mph as it swept through the archipelago.