People living on Fiji's outer islands were the first to feel the cyclone's ferocious force, with some posting shocking videos to social media.
The capital Suva, which is the hub for both the national government and international response actors, was not hit directly but experienced damaging winds.
While Tonga was impacted in the previous week, damage was more limited. 135 houses were damaged and 17 destroyed, while four schools were also damaged.
This cyclone season has been intensified by the extreme impacts of El Niño and teams across the region have been working for months to ensure UNICEF is as prepared as possible to respond immediately.
"The reiteration of preparedness messages from all sectors of society certainly ensured people were informed and as prepared as they could be," said Ms Clements.
"Just last week 25 teachers and senior officials from the Ministry of Education were trained by UNICEF as first assessors and responders so their training will immediately be put to use in response to TC Winston. This once again reiterates that preparedness does work and actions like this will help Fiji to recover together.”
Fast facts on Fiji
- Population of 887,000, including 301,000 children.
- 330 islands, around 110 of which are inhabited.
- 47 per cent child poverty in rural areas: double the prevalence in urban areas (22 per cent).
- Ranked 88 out of 187 countries and territories according to 2014 Human Development Indicators.
How we've helped lately
UNICEF has been working in the Pacific for more than 50 years and continues to help Fiji through some of its toughest times.
- In 2012, Cyclone Evan caused unprecedented flooding that displaced 15,000 people. UNICEF distributed water and sanitation kits and assisted partners to prepare for any disease outbreaks.
- In 2013 UNICEF supported the “Get Ready, Disasters Happen” campaign which promoted life-saving interpersonal and multimedia messages for use in the country before, during and after an emergency.
- In 2014, UNICEF assisted Fiji in its response to a drought, including distribution of micronutrient powder to infants.