“Tropical Cyclone Winston appears to have caused major damage on the Northern Coast of Vitu Levu and sadly one person has now been confirmed dead,” Mr McCully says.
“New Zealand stands ready to assist the people of Fiji as they deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Winston and we are in close contact with the Government of Fiji.
“A New Zealand Defence Force Orion P3 has just departed Whenuapai to help the Fiji authorities carry out aerial surveillance and damage assessments.
“In addition we have made an initial $50,000 available via our High Commission to ensure we can respond rapidly to urgent requests from the Fiji Government. We have also authorised the release of up to $170,000 worth of pre-positioned relief supplies, held by non-government partners such as Rotary and UNICEF in Fiji.
“It is clear that further support will be required and we will be working with the local authorities over the coming days to determine how we can best assist,” Mr McCully says.
New Zealanders with concerns about friends and family in Fiji should attempt to make contact directly in the first instance (noting that communication lines may be down in parts of Northern Fiji).
If there are on-going concerns, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: on 04 439-8000 (if calling from within New Zealand) or +64 4 439-8000 (if calling from outside New Zealand).