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Will Fijian economy weather Winston’s wrath?

SEVERE Tropical Cyclone (STC) Winston didn’t just leave death and destruction in its wake – it also left Fiji’s economy in a shattered state. Preliminary estimates by the Fijian government placed STC Winston’s cost to Fiji at F$1 billion with damage in the agriculture sector at $120.2 million, the bulk of which accounted for damaged crops which will take months to recover.

Fiji’s second largest foreign exchange earner, the sugar industry, is estimated to have suffered damage amounting to $83 million and the final estimate is expected to be even higher when destroyed farm houses and milling facilities are properly assessed. The country’s Education sector also took a battering with damage estimated at F$45.9 million. A total of 265 schools around Fiji suffered extensive damage with 63 being completely destroyed.

At the time of our going to print, there were still over 54,000 people taking refuge in 960 evacuation centres around Fiji. STC Winston carved a path which took it through the outlying eastern islands and in between Fiji’s two largest islands, curving more inland on the coastal areas of densely populated Viti Levu’s Ra and Tailevu provinces. Unlike past cyclones, most of Fiji’s tourist-populated islands were spared STC Winston’s wrath. The tourism industry is…

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