Five people killed as Cyclone Winston batters Fiji

Fiji has declared a 30 day state of emergency because of Cyclone Winston. Credit: Unicef

Five people have died and at least 50 homes have been destroyed after Cyclone Winston battered Fiji with recorded wind gusts of up to 201 miles per hour.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama confirmed the death toll, saying officials were working urgently to "assess and address the damage in our maritime regions".

Most of the destroyed homes are believed to be in a village on Koro Island.

The number of people dead could continue to rise once reports come in from outlying islands and from so-called "squatter areas" where shanty-standard housing was unlikely to have withstood the Category 5 storm.

A curfew remains in place, schools have been ordered to shut for a week and a 30 day state of emergency declared after the Cyclone flattening villages and transformed parts of the Pacific island nation into a disaster zone.

Police and armed forces have fanned out for rescue efforts amid concerns of flash flooding and mudslides, despite being hampered by trees and power lines blocking roads.

Power, water and communication services are yet to be restored across this nation of almost 900,000.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it had an emergency response team on standby but the country had not yet asked for help.