Cyclone Winston claims 10 lives, destroys century-old iconic tree

The popular ivi tree landmark in Suva - cleaved in half by TC Winston. Image: Fiji One News

Ten people lost their lives in Fiji’s Western Division when severe tropical cyclone Winston swept through the country at the weekend leaving a trail of devastation.

And a popular century-old iconic tree in the heart of the capital Suva has been destroyed.

The curfew was lifted at 5.30am today, schools have been given a week-long break and the universities are shut for two days as the clean-up operation continues.

Divisional Planning Officer West Sitiveni Tavaga confirmed the 10 deaths to FBC News.

Seven of the deceased were from Ra; one from Nadi and a 48-year-old from Lautoka.

Two of the seven people who lost their lives in Ra drowned during storm surges at the height of TC Winston – one of them was a 97-year-old.

Of those deaths in Ra, four were hit by flying debris, while one died after a house collapsed.

Three people lost their lives in Nadi – one of whom died during medical evacuation from Ra.

7 fishermen missing
Tavaga also confirmed that seven fishermen from the Yasawas were missing at sea.

They had gone out to sea on Friday and had not been heard from since, officials told FBC News.

Meanwhile, there are 68 evacuation centres billeting 701 families from Navosa, Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Tavua and Nadarivatu.

There are currently 4184 evacuees.

Authorities are waiting for water levels to recede before any contact can be made.

DISMAC has also confirmed five deaths yesterday – one from Koro Island, two from Ovalau, one from Qelekuro in Tailevu and one from Nasau in Ra, with the total toll apparently reaching 15.

Fiji One News reports that the famous ivi tree that was a favourite photo shoot venue for tourists was finally ripped in half by the category 5 cyclone Winston. It had survived many cyclones for decades.

Suva City Council workers yesterday cleared parts of the tree that had blocked Victoria Parade, a major city route into the capital.

The ivi tree had been a popular landmark since land sale registrations in 1890 in pre-independence times and is believed to be at least 126 years old.

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