15 Mar 2003

Cyclone Erica causes death, injuries and heavy damage in New Caledonia

10:02 am on 15 March 2003

At least two people have been killed and more than 70 injured after Tropical Cyclone Erica swept along New Caledonia's west coast.yesterday

Winds gusting at 150 kilometres an hour, disrupted communications and transport links, uprooting trees and ripping roofs of houses and public buildings iincluding the university.

More than a thousand people have lost their homes

Seven people were seriously injured, with several wounded by flying glass shards from windows which had been blown in by the storm.

The French minister in charge of overseas territories, Brigette Giardin, is flying to Noumea to assess the damage.

She has already promised 300 thousand US dollars to help repair the damage caused by the worst cyclone to hit New Caledonia in decades.