7 Dec 2007

Cyclone Daman strengthens as it is poised to hit Fiji's Vanua Levu island

4:09 pm on 7 December 2007

All emergency centres in Fiji have been activated as the tropical cyclone Daman continues to move closer to the island of Vanua Levu.

Cyclone Daman is now about 210 kilometres north west of Vanua Levu, with average wind speeds about 195 kilometres per hour and gusts up to 275 kilometres per hour.

A senior forecaster at the Fiji metservice, Matt Boterhoeen, says the cyclone will continue to intensify in Vanua Levu and reach its peak this evening.

"People on that island should prepare for the worst. We expect major flooding of village streams, wind damage with gust up to 250 kilometres per hour. So, if people can find safe buildings to hide in on high ground, they have a better chance of avoiding of more the severe affects of the cyclone."

Matt Boterhoeen says cyclone Daman is expected to cross Vanua Levu early tomorrow morning move towards to the Lau group.

Power outages have been reported in Labasa and Nausori due to high winds.

Domestic and international flights have also been suspended until further notice.