Disaster officials in Fiji are set to deploy aerial surveillance to assess the damage left in Cyclone Winston's wake, amid fears entire villages were flattened by the category five storm.
Torrential rain, wind gusts of up to 325 km/h and waves up to 12 metres high battered the South Pacific nation on Saturday evening in what is thought to be the strongest severe tropical cyclone to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere.
At least five people have been killed and a nationwide curfew remains in place, as authorities begin the monumental task of assessing the extent of the damage and restoring power to parts of the country, which takes in more than 100 inhabited islands.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama confirmed the death toll, according to a report from the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.
He said officials were working urgently to "assess and address the damage in our maritime regions", according to the report.
There are currently 1200 Australians registered as being in Fiji, although Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the actual number could be higher.
Tourists are yet to find out when they are able to fly home, although Virgin Australia flights will resume on Monday, the airline announced.
"Guests whose flights were cancelled as a result of Tropical Cyclone Winston will be provided with updated flight details," a spokesman said.
Aid agencies say the scale of devastation is yet to be revealed, as huge swathes of Fiji remain without telecommunication and power. The entire island of Viti Levu, home to about 70 per cent of Fiji's population, had no power on Sunday.
Alice Clements, a UNICEF aid worker in Suva, said she held "grave concerns" for people on the outer islands, particularly those who lived in low-lying areas with weaker housing structures.
"We need to quickly determine who needs assistance most urgently," she said.
The cyclone made landfall at 6.30pm on Saturday evening local time on the north of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. The capital Suva was spared the full force of the storm's winds when the cyclone changed direction at the last minute.
Peter Joli Wilson, a surf photographer from the Gold Coast, is staying on the small island of Namotu and estimated the eye of the storm came to within 40 kilometres of the island.
"It was the craziest wind I've ever seen or experienced," he said, adding the roar of the wind sounded like a jet engine. "At one stage there was some metal from the roof flying around outside."
Mr Wilson said buildings had "had the paint blasted off the walls" in the storm.
Oxfam's regional director for the Pacific, Raijeli Nicole, said the National Emergency Operations Committee in Fiji had convened an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon.
At the meeting government officials and emergency services organised to aerially survey Fiji's islands, where widespread damage is feared.
"We have very little contact with the outer islands," Ms Nicole said.
Authorities in Fiji confirmed the death of an elderly man on Koro Island. It's believed he died when a roof fell on him.Details of the four other reported deaths were not immediately available.
Ms Nicole said discussions at the meeting also centred on communication and access problems, including widespread power outages, downed telephone lines, flooding and road blockages.
The Fijian government reinstated the national curfew until Monday, when it will again be reviewed.
Ms Nicole said the government and international NGOs would meet on Sunday afternoon to co-ordinate and target their resources to those in need.
She said NGOs stood ready to assist the hardest-hit communities.
With Steve Lillebuen
The story Tropical Cyclone Winston: Scale of devastation in Fiji unknown first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.