Fijians urged to immediately bury those who died in cyclone

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Debris is scattered around damaged buildings at Muamua on Vanua Blava Island in Fiji, after Cyclone Winston tore through the island nation.

Debris is scattered around damaged buildings at Muamua on Vanua Blava Island in Fiji, after Cyclone Winston tore through the island nation. (Photo: New Zealand Defense Force via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Fijians in remote places are being urged to immediately bury loved ones who died in a powerful cyclone rather than waiting for autopsies.

Government spokesman Ewan Perrin said Thursday that many far-flung places still don't have electricity or refrigeration, and so the government is asking people to bury the dead in the interests of public health and safety.

The death toll from Cyclone Winston remained at 42 Thursday with at least four others still missing. The cyclone tore through the Pacific Island chain over the weekend with winds that reached 177 miles (285 kilometers) per hour, making it the strongest storm in Fiji's recorded history.

Perrin said authorities have now managed to get to all the islands affected by the storm but still haven't reached a few isolated communities.

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