17 Feb 2005

Around 1,600 people on Manu'a islands sheltering from Supercyclone Olaf

7:28 am on 17 February 2005

Around 1,600 people on the islands of Manu'a in American Samoa are currently sheltering from the full force of Supercyclone Olaf.

Olaf passed by the main island Tutuila overnight, causing minimal damage in the capital Pago Pago, but is currently over the three islands in Manu'a.

The centre's assistant public information officer, Jeff Basa, says residents were evacuated to shelters yesterday, and they're now trying to make contact with them.

"The storm did shift a little east, and we don't know if the eye itself went right over the island, but it certainly looks like it did, close enough to it, and right now, the emergency operations centre is working on to best assess, and assist with whatever help they need."

Meanwhile, the Samoa Meteorological Service says emergency warnings for Cyclone Olaf, have now been cancelled.

The director, Mulipola Ausetalia, says people are relieved, as damaging force winds from the cyclone had been predicted to directly hit Samoa.