France became the latest country to join the relief effort following last weekend's deadly super-cyclone, flying in three tonnes of supplies and 40 engineers to help rebuild crippled infrastructure.

But with Care Australia confirming the death toll had reached 44 - up from 42 previously - and that about 35,000 people were homeless, officials said Fiji "requires all the support that can be given".

Severe tropical cyclone Winston lashed the Pacific nation overnight Saturday, packing wind gusts of 325 kilometres (202 miles) per hour and leaving a trail of destruction.

Australia and New Zealand have so far led the international response, sending planes laden with supplies, helicopters and medevac teams. New Zealand is also dispatching two naval ships this weekend, while France sent two military transports from New Caledonia.

In addition, there has been financial support from Canberra, Wellington, India, China, the United States, Japan, Nauru and the Asian Development Bank.

"We've had a lot of international assistance already and we're grateful to our friends in the international community," government spokesman Ewan Perrin told Radio New Zealand.

He said there had been minimal contact with some isolated communities "so we're not sure how much further the death toll will rise".

Latest News from World News Desk