10 Dead in Fiji From ‘Monster’ Cyclone Winston

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At least 10 people were killed in Fiji when a record-breaking storm struck the island nation Saturday night, according to the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.

Now that Tropical Cyclone Winston has passed, the arduous tasks of cleanup and damage assessment from the most powerful storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere has begun, authorities say.

Nai International Airport reopened Monday morning after being close for two days. Operations there are back to normal with few cancellations, according to airport staff.

Schools, however, will be closed in Fiji for one week, the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management said.

Winds that reached 296 kph (184 mph) lashed the tiny island nation in the Pacific, felling trees, knocking out power and causing heavy flooding, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported.

“Winston was a monster of a cyclone,” Fiji resident Nazeem Kasim told CNN. “I have not experienced anything like this before in my life, nor has my 60-year-old father.”

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama declared a state of emergency that will be in effect for 30 days, according to the Fiji Times.

A nationwide curfew remains in effect as emergency crews clear roads of downed trees and restore power.

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SOURCE: CNN, Kevin Conlon, Joshua Berlinger and Ralph Ellis