Twins Joen Soro and Mosikula Taitulo help remove the church
furniture after the roof of Vusuya Methodist Church was
blown off when tropical cyclone Evan hit Kuku, in Naitasiri
province on Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island, yesterday.
Photo by Fiji Sun.
Tropical Cyclone Evan has passed Fiji, however
authorities are still warning of strong winds and large swells
Fiji was yesterday battered by ferocious 270km/h winds, which
uprooted trees and homes, ripped roofs off buildings and
caused widespread power and water outages yesterday
The Fiji Meteorological Service said the category 4 cyclone
was centred about 165km south of Nadi at 4am, and is moving
south-southwest at 16kmh. It is forecast to lie about 290km
south of Nadi by 4pm today.
A hurricane warning for the Coral Coast, Vatulele, and nearby
islands has been cancelled, as has a storm warning previously
in place for the Mamanuca group.
However a gale warning remains in place for the Coral Coast,
Kadavu, Beqa, Vatulele and nearby islands, with momentary
gusts up to 110kmh possible, and strong wind and damaging
heavy swell warnings remain in force for Fiji.
More than 3000 Fijians sheltered in evacuation centres and
tourists sat tight in boarded-up hotels as Fiji entered
darkness and the worst of the storm.
With winds stirring up massive swells, two ships ran aground
near the entrance to Suva Harbour.
The bulk carrier Starford, believed to be carrying equipment
for a Chinese railway company, dragged its anchor at 11.30am
and was pushed on to the reef close to the entrance.
The container vessel Captain Tasman was last night aground on
the east side of the harbour entrance with a full load of
Sangay Prakash of the Fijian Metservice said heavy winds
between 60 and 110 knots per hour had hit the Nadi and
Lautoka areas with "destructive force".
He said the most damaging winds would likely come overnight.
Yesterday, there were reports of more than 12 houses being
blown away in Lautoka.
Families reportedly lost all their belongings after winds
tore apart the homes.
A resident in the area said that of the 18 homes there, only
five houses remained standing, Fiji Village reported.
Nadi, where hundreds of New Zealanders were sheltering in
boarded-up hotels, was expected to endure hurricane-force
winds until early this morning.
Steve Delany, holidaying at Denarau Island, told 3 News that
despite the wild weather, he felt as safe as was possible in
"I think the major concern is for Fijians themselves, who
don't have half the protection that we have."
New Zealander Michael Toms, who has lived in Fiji for nearly
45 years, said his Pacific Harbour house had been pounded by
high winds all day, bringing down a tree and clothes line in
his back garden.
He was worried about high tide later in the night because a
river which ran beside his property was already carrying
large amounts of brown water.
"We used to always say, not as bad as Bebe, but this is now
the benchmark we're going to remember as the worst."
Joanna Underwood of Nadi said she had eight family members at
her home and friends who had flood-prone homes were arriving.
"We have nothing else to do here at the moment except stay
inside and watch the wind blow everything outside."
The Fijian Government imposed a curfew for all public
transport which prevented any vehicles from operating
overnight. It is feared Evan could be as devastating as
Cyclone Kina, which killed 23 people and left thousands
homeless in 1993.
On its projected track, Evan's centre would keep just
offshore of the west coast of Viti Levu before gradually
turning south from early this morning.
The cyclone, the first of the season in the South Pacific,
was expected to move away from Fiji later today, but not
before pounding Nadi further.
Prime Minister John Key said the Government was bracing
itself to hear what destruction would be caused.