More aid on its way for Fiji

  • 24/02/2016
(Melissa Davies / Newshub)
(Melissa Davies / Newshub)

The death toll in cyclone-ravaged Fiji has risen to 36 and the New Zealand government is sending more help as the Pacific Island nation continues to struggle with the clean-up.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the HMNZS Canterbury will be sent to Fiji this weekend loaded with essential supplies like building materials, water storage tanks, and medical supplies.

Helicopters and medical and engineering personnel will also be on board.

Another contingent of Defence Force and Fire Service personnel will leave from Ohakea today to help Fijian authorities with repairs to public buildings and critical infrastructure.

More aid on its way for Fiji

Luisa stands outside the village church (Newshub)

An Air Force C-130 Hercules was sent to Suva earlier this week and it's delivering equipment and relief supplies. A P3 Orion is continuing to do regular reconnaissance flights to assess the damage.

The New Zealand Government has already pledged close to $2 million in aid for Fiji in the aftermath of the Category 5 Cyclone Winston.

"This is one of the most damaging cyclones in Fiji's history and this is reflected in the scale of our response," Mr McCully said.

"New Zealand will continue to do all we can to help and we will stand with Fiji in the aftermath of this disaster."

Meanwhile, aid organisations and Fijian government authorities have been racing to deal with a critical need for clean water, health supplies and emergency accommodation after powerlines, roads, jetties and homes were destroyed and damaged.

More aid on its way for Fiji

More than 20 people live in a community hall here now (Newshub)

But there are also concerns children won't be able to return to their classrooms, with damage to more than 80 schools.

Another 30 schools are being used as emergency centres.

The principal of Ratu Kadavulevu School in Tailevu, Peni Senikarawa, said students were waiting for a Ministry of Education decision on whether they would return.

"Nearly all the classrooms are down. We have damaged windows and roofs blown off. We may not be able to start on time, but if the government wants us to start after a week then it may be on a limited scale," he said.

More aid on its way for Fiji

In a statement today, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said the government was working 24/7 to restore electricity.

"We've identified downed powerlines and have begun repairing our fallen towers. Power has been restored to some areas but in others, including our Western Division, damage to our power network is extensive," he said.

Resident Luisa Dabuli, 32, of Rakiraki says the aftermath has been difficult.

"We have difficulties with housing," she says. "The trees have fallen on the houses." 

She says there are about 30 people now staying in a community home.

"Plenty of people there, and the kids too -- they've got difficulties, and no food."

Ms Dabuli says the village is now sharing food that arrived in an aid package today.

NZN / Newshub.