Cyclone Winston’s fury is evident throughout Fiji

February 22, 2016 6:18 pm
Sheets of corrugated iron lie in the flattened grass on a roadside just north of Nadi. They are Gnarled and twisted, displaced. This is where they landed when Winston was finished with them. Crumpled and discarded like bits of waste paper.
Less than a minute out of the city up the main road towards Lautoka, Winston’s fury is evident. Almost every tree along the highway is either uprooted or split, branches ripped off during the cyclone littering each side of the road and damming creeks. 
The road to Lautoka is busy. Locals on foot traipse up and down and even more in cars fill the spaces on the road.
They mill about petrol stations and markets, sitting in groups wherever there is light. Some huddle around an ATM and others park up their cars and use the headlights to see each other.
Most of the power is still out and in the dusk men can be seen scaling ladders up poles to attempt power line repairs.
Houses along this main stretch are still in darkness with the only sign of life being vehicle lights in yards and the flicker of candles and the glow of white battery powered lamps through windows.

Through one window we see a family sitting in their living room, their faces barely illuminated by a single flame.
Security guards man supermarkets and petrol stations which are besieged by people buying whatever they can – food, torches, water and fuel for generators.
The petrol stations are frenetic, at least the ones that are open and operating.
The further you get from Nadi the darker it becomes. There is nothing to light up the north, and the town of Lautoka is dark but for the glow of the McDonald’s restaurant sign and the sporadic flashes lightening.

A tree blocks a road after it was blown down by the encroaching cyclone Winston in Nakasi, Fiji. Photo / APA tree blocks a road after it was blown down by the encroaching cyclone Winston in Nakasi, Fiji. Photo / AP

We’ve been in Fiji for an hour and have only a minute glimpse of the mess left by Cyclone Winston but is its clear from the debris in this area, one of the least affected, that it was horrific.
We are told that the further north we go the worse the carnage will be. That is where Winston hit the hardest, taking homes and tragically, lives.
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