Five days after the most destructive cyclone to hit the southern hemisphere made landfall over the Fijian archipelago on Saturday night, the Indian defence ministry decided to send at least 40 tonnes of medicines, food and tents through an Air Force plane, reported PTI. The Indian Air Force will send a C17 transport aircraft from Delhi to Chennai with about 20 tonnes of medicine and food. From Chennai, another 20 tonnes of tentage will be picked up and flown to Fiji.
So far, the country has reported 44 deaths related to Cyclone Winston, which razed villages and caused extensive flooding in the archipelago. The Red Cross said the toll could rise further. According to the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, as many as 1,20,000 children have been affected by the cyclone across the islands. Fiji Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the country sustained damages to the tune of $1 billion. However, Sayed-Khaiyum said that the official figure will be revealed only after a thorough survey of the situation, reported the Fiji Times.
The FIJI Airways has donated $1 million to the Prime Minister's National Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund and pledged more funds to help the nation get back on its feet. The company has also volunteered to carry relief supplies domestically and inbound from other countries.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the Fiji government has asked people to bury loved ones immediately rather than waiting for autopsies. The appeal was made in the interests of public health and safety. A government spokesperson said 45,000 people are now staying in emergency shelters after thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm.