20 Mar 2010

Number of fatalities from Cyclone Tomas in Fiji increases to three

10:17 am on 20 March 2010

Fiji's Disaster Management Office says those worst hit by Cyclone Tomas will have to live on rations for the next few months.

The office's acting director Pajiliai Dobui says northern parts of the Lau and Lomaiviti island groups have suffered the most devastation, with homes and crops destroyed.

Mr Dobui says copra and breadfruit plantations in particular will take many months to grow back.

He says in the meantime, aid brought by the New Zealand and Australian Defence Forces will be distributed by boat today as many islands can't accommodate large aircraft.

"The Northern Division only has one airport that could accommodate large aircraft's but unfortunately for Lau that is not possible and their rations and emergency supplies has to be delivered by boat."

Pajiliai Dobui says people are gradually starting to return to their homes.

Meanwhile, the number of fatalities from Cyclone Tomas has increased to three.

Anthony Blake, operations officer for the Disaster Management Office, told Fiji Live online the military had found the body of a Rabi Islander.

He said the man lost his life when a tree fell on his house at the height of the cyclone.