Fiji braces for destructive cyclone

Fijians living in low-lying areas were urged to flee to higher ground on Saturday as a cyclone bore down on the Pacific nation after leaving a trail of destruction in Samoa with up to 10 feared dead.

Cyclone Evan is intensifying and is expected to be packing winds of up to 230 kilometres an hour (143 miles per hour) by the time it slams into Fiji on Sunday afternoon.

Government officials feared it could be as devastating as Cyclone Kina which killed 23 people and left thousands homeless in 1993.

"I cannot stress enough how serious this is. Every Fijian will be affected but we must take preventative steps now," military leader Voreqe Bainimarama told the nation of about 900,000.

"Because this is the festive season I ask you to consider cancelling social events and to act responsibly, all of us need a clear mind for what is bearing down on us."

More than 60 evacuation centres have been set up in northern areas of Fiji and residents were being urged to move in before the storm hits.

"We are advising people to move to high ground, those who are living in lower-lying areas," Asesela Biuviti of the national disaster management office said.

"This is going to be an extremely bad cyclone to hit us and probably the worse that we've seen since Cyclone Kina," the permanent secretary for information, Sharon Smith-Johns, added.

Meanwhile, in Samoa the confirmed death toll from Evan rose to three with another seven people missing and feared dead after being swept away when the capital Apia's Vaisigano river burst its banks.

About 3,000 people remained in emergency shelters after their homes were either destroyed or left without essential services including power and water, the New Zealand High Commissioner in Samoa Nick Hurley said.

A clean up was under way with fallen trees and power poles removed to open main roads but progress was slow and it could be another two days before the full extent of the damage was known, he added.

There was no electricity on the main Samoan island Aporo, apart from private generators.

Both Australia and New Zealand responded to Samoan calls for help with Wellington sending a P3 Orion aircraft for aerial surveillance to assess the extent of the damage.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said an initial assessment showed "damage to outlying buildings, critical infrastructure and power lines, with flooding, many fallen trees and power outages".

McCully's counterpart in Canberra Bob Carr said Australian aid workers were already on the ground in Apia offering humanitarian assistance.

"We'll be consulting with the Samoan government today on how we can further assist with emergency relief," he said, adding that Australia was also on standby to help Fiji.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday it will have to be discussed by Congress because lawmakers are the ones who enact tax exemptions, special or general. Pacquiao has been dogged by unsettled tax obligations with the BIR. …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options