Destructive cyclone heads towards Fiji

Damage in and around Apia is extensive. Photo / Seti Afoa
Damage in and around Apia is extensive. Photo / Seti Afoa
The tropical cyclone that has ripped through Samoa is moving away from Apia and is likely to gain momentum as it heads towards Fiji, say weather reports.

Since a state of disaster was declared when cyclone Evan hit on Thursday, at least three people, two of them reportedly children, have been killed.

residents and holidaymakers were hit by sustained winds of up to 170km/h, flash floods and rough seas, forcing evacuations across Samoa.

Heading southwest since moving away from the capital of Apia, the effects are now being felt on smaller islands off the northern coast, where gale warnings are in place for Savai'i and the most populated island, Upolu, Samoa Meteorology Division reported.

Hurricane winds in parts, flooding, thunderstorms and squalls were likely, said the weather service.

By the time it reaches Fiji tomorrow, the category three cyclone is expected to develop into a category five - a level reserved for the most severe tropical cyclones.

Fijians are being urged to take all possible precautions as it braces itself.

Fiji's self appointed prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama issued a statement urging every Fijian citizen to take the "impending disaster" seriously.

"I call on you to secure your homes, your businesses and your properties. I also urge you to now stock up on emergency and essential items. Every Fijian must be prepared and not be complacent," he said.

People should restrict their movements and refrain from unnecessary travel.

 

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