International assistance pours in as Fiji's cyclone toll rises to 28

Updated: 2016-02-23 10:04


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International assistance pours in as Fiji's cyclone toll rises to 28

United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) volunteers help pack supplies at their warehouse in Fiji's capital Suva, February 22, 2016, before the supplies are distributed to the outlying Koro Ovalau Islands in the wake of Cyclone Winston.[Photo/Agencies]

SUVA -- Death toll in Fiji from severe tropical cyclone Winston has risen to 28, the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation confirmed Tuesday.

Aside from the latest death toll, 21 people are suffering from serious injuries, said Akapusi Tuifagalele, director of Fiji's National Disaster Management Office.

The official death toll may further rise as police are trying to get confirmation on some reports of missing persons.

Over 8,400 people are living in evacuation centers around the country, Tuifagalele said.

Many people have been stranded and urgently need food and shelter in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Winston, a category 5 one when it swept through Fiji last Saturday and left a path of destruction.

The Fijian government has been working to coordinate rescue and relief efforts, and has established bank accounts to receive financial donations to help those affected by Winston, considered the strongest tropical cyclone Fiji has ever met.

The United Nations has begun its assessment of the needs for international assistance to Fiji, and the UN's Pacific Humanitarian Team are reaching out to local authorities in a bid to determine what expertise and support are needed.

Meanwhile, several countries have reached out a helping hand to the Pacific island country.

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