Two dead, state of emergency declared in Fiji after Cyclone Yasa tore through island

Fiji is in a state of emergency and two people have died after Cyclone Yasa struck as a category five storm overnight.

The New Zealand Government is flying a support crew over for damage assessments already as Yasa carried wind gusts of 340km an hour.

Most of the damage centred on Fiji's second-largest island of Vanua Levu.

It ruined homes, destroyed crops and caused widespread power cuts after lines were torn down.

Resident Michael Simon says it's chaos. 

"If you imagine yourself being hungry and having a can of food, with no can opener, what you do to get in there, and what that can looks like after, that's what a lot of the places look like - torn open, tin everywhere," he told Newshub.

One man reportedly died after his home collapsed and entire towns were flooded after a night of torrential rain. 

Twenty-three thousand people remain in evacuation centres and Rebecca Simon told Newshub only one in 10 trees near her home are still standing.

"I wish you guys could see this in person, this is freaking insane."

The Simon family say they feared for their lives last night as wind gusts slammed into their home.

"The roar was just insane; it was like a freight train coming," said Michael.

It was feared Yasa would be similar in strength to Cyclone Winston which in 2016 killed 44 people.

Vasiti Soko, Fijian Director for the National Disaster Management Office, says it could be "hundreds of millions" in damages". 

We will continue to assess the scale of damage in the coming days."

The New Zealand Government is helping with money and relief kits and the immediate focus though is restoring communications to cut off areas.

After Winston, the Simon's say they were without power for six weeks.

"I dread to think how long we're going to have power down on the island," said Rebecca. 

It's a devastating end to an already difficult year.