Hundreds of villagers are abandoning Koro Island and taking refuge in Suva in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone which devastated Fiji last weekend—leaving 43 dead and more than 53,000 homeless.
Boat loads carrying hundreds of people from Koro began arriving in Suva this week as villagers flee their devastated island because "it is no longer safe for them to live in".
Koro is one of the many areas which was destroyed by the TC Winston. In the Western Division, Ba, Rakiraki, Tavua and Lautoka were also severely affected.
More than 4000 people live on Koro Island in the Lomaiviti Group and now it is expected to be quarantined.
Koro islander Mitieli Tuqiri said nothing was left for them on the island.
"Everyone from my village is choosing to move to Suva. Some came last week while others arrived on board the Patterson boat today," Tuqiri said on Monday.
"We have been advised by our relatives to leave the islands and that's exactly what we are doing because staying behind means a lot of struggle for us to get our lives back to normal." He said people from other villages as well had moved to the main urban centres.
Calls have been made to have the island quarantined for at least two months as there is a risk of an outbreak of communicable diseases.
Agriculture officer Isei Namacamanalatu said dead animal carcasses polluted rivers, water was not clean and the leftover crops on farms were not safe for consumption.
In the North
A few villagers of Navakawau on Taveuni have found refuge under the floor of a house after Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston damaged their homes.
Close to 18 villagers were forced to seek refuge in a three-bedroom house with the remaining families that could not be accommodated in the house forced to find shelter beneath the house's floor.
Navakawau Village headman Iosefo Matailima said close to seven families were still sleeping under the floors since their homes had been destroyed by the cyclone leaving them with nowhere else to turn to.
Mr Matailima said because of the quick action, the families were lucky to get planks and bedding material under the floor and sleep there until the strong winds abated.
Navakawau villager Misaele Kelepi said he and 18 families had no choice but to seek refuge under the floor of the house after their own homes gave way to the force of Severe TC Winston.
Mr Kelepi said close to seven families were still staying under the floors as they waited for relief supplies from Government.
According to Mr Kelepi, the families were fortunate to have found shelter in the house of Maraia Meta and Ilikimi Kunagogo who opened the door of their home to them.
If it had not been for the house, Mr Kelepi said families would have been wounded by flying roofing iron and debris that swirled in the village green like paper at the height of the severe cyclone.
New Zealand helps
Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the aerial view of the aftermath of Cyclone Winston in Fiji was like "an endless sea of aeroplane crashes."
McCully visited Fiji on Monday and said the situation was "grim" and reconstruction would take a long time.
"You're talking roofs taken off houses completely, some places where there is just a platform left on a house. So it was like flying over an endless sea of aeroplane crashes where you've got a centre where a house used to be and then a trail of debris around it. The landscape is like that for kilometres and that wasn't even the worst part of Fiji."
In parliament, Prime Minister John Key said by the end of this week there would be 400 personnel in Fiji helping out and the Defence Force was making daily drops of supplies and disaster specialists, such as medical staff. "New Zealand's response to Cyclone Winston is shaping up to be our largest humanitarian response in the Pacific."
He said the cyclone resulted in significant loss of life, property and crops and it had impacted on about 40 per cent of Fiji's population.
"In some places the devastation is complete."
He said more than 160 tonnes of emergency goods had been sent over, from shelter kits and water to food and blankets.
McCully announced that the Government was putting in a further $1.5 million in aid - much of it for use to get Suva's electricity grid working well again and for supplies for reconstruction. It takes the total New Zealand has given to $4.7 million.
McCully said New Zealand was likely to provide further support but was leaving it to Fiji to say what it needed. "This is not a small Pacific country, it's a rather larger Pacific country. They've got capacities of their own so we need to work out what areas they want support in and what areas they feel they can look after their own needs as well."
He said it would inevitably have an economic impact on Fiji and outside help would be needed.
"But we need to respect the decision making process that operates in Fiji." He praised the Fijian authorities' handling since Cyclone Winston saying it was managing the response well.