Australian foreign minister to visit storm-hit Fiji

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 11, 2016 11:29 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, will travel to Fiji on Sunday to meet Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama and survey the damage wrought by cyclone Winston, her office said.

The cyclone, which was the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, hit the South Pacific archipelago last month, killing 43 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Three weeks later, more than 25,000 Fijians remain in evacuation centers, according to the latest report from Fiji's National Emergency Operation Centre.

During her visit Bishop will also meet Fiji's foreign minister, Ratu Kubuabola, and disaster management minister, Inia Seruiratu, as well as Australian aid workers there.

Australia has committed A$15 million to the recovery effort and deployed its largest navy vessel, the HMAS Canberra, to Fiji with 60 tonnes of emergency relief supplies.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Robert Birsel)