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Disaster: Thousands of people fleeing in Fiji, a South Pacific tourism paradise

Fiji under attack by Tropical Cyclone Winston and winds of 360 km and 40-foot waves

Feb 20, 2016

A national disaster has been declared. Thousands of people are on the run in Fiji, a tropical paradise for tourists from the Pacific region and beyond. Tropical Cyclone Winston has made landfall on Fiji's main island, and the Fiji government has declared a national disaster.

The US government’s typhoon warning center said gusts from the cyclone were reaching 360km/h (224mph). Storm surf of 40-foot waves are expected. Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston is now the strongest tropical cyclone and first Category 5 storm on record to hit Fiji.

CNN reports thata Fiji is just now taking a direct hit from a massive tropical cyclone, which will move over the most populated and largest islands of Fiji.

Residents were told earlier to take precautions, and flights were canceled as the island faces the arrival of this intense tropical storm.

Flights to and from Fiji were canceled on Saturday as the country braced itself for the arrival of Cyclone Winston.

Many domestic and international flights were canceled as authorities urged people to secure their homes and not venture outside.

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, said on Saturday that the island’s evacuation centers were operational, and the government was prepared to deal with a potential crisis.

“As a nation we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind,” he wrote. “We must stick together as a people and look after each other.”

The Times said there had been a run on supermarkets and stores as people stocked up on essential supplies, while a 5 pm curfew had been placed on all public transportation, including buses, minibuses, and taxis.

Winston, which has intensified to a category-five storm, has already lashed Tonga.

Fiji under attack by Tropical Cyclone Winston and winds of  360 km and 40-foot waves

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