Pacific

Fiji cyclone death toll reaches 29 after island 'flattened'

Officials say an island in Fiji took a direct hit from a deadly cyclone as the death toll climbed to 29.

Government spokesman Ewan Perrin told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday that Koro Island had been "pretty much flattened" by Cyclone Winston over the weekend and that eight bodies were found there Monday.

He said there were very few buildings left on the island, which is home to about 4,500 people.

Winds from Cyclone Winston, which tore through the Pacific Island chain Saturday and early Sunday, reached 177 miles (285 kilometers) per hour, making it the strongest storm in Fiji's recorded history.

Getting emergency supplies to the group's far-flung islands and remote communities most affected by the cyclone is the Fiji government's top priority.