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Death Toll Rises in Fiji as Concerns Grow About Disease

  • VOA News

Two boys are under a bus shelter that is supporting a fallen tree in the village of Talecake, Fiji, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016.

Two boys are under a bus shelter that is supporting a fallen tree in the village of Talecake, Fiji, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016.

International relief agencies are racing to reach isolated communities in the South Pacific island nation of Fiji that were devastated by Cyclone Winston, which killed 42 people.

Authorities revised the death toll Wednesday up from the previous number of 29, as aid workers began to arrive in the outer reaches of the archipelago of 300 islands. Winston destroyed scores of homes, leaving untold thousands of Fijians homeless and forced to take shelter in evacuation shelters.

The category 5 storm made landfall on Fiji's main island on Viti Levu last Saturday, with winds reaching 300 kilometers an hour, making it the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

Winston also caused massive flooding across the archipelago, raising concerns among aid workers about an outbreak of diseases such as dengue fever and Zika which are carried by mosquitoes that breed in standing, stagnant water.

Fiji remains under a 30-day state of natural disaster.

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