29 Jan 2008

Tropical Cyclone Gene now moving to Vanuatu after causing damage in Fiji

12:14 pm on 29 January 2008

Tropical Cyclone Gene flatten houses and brought down powerlines overnight on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu.

Many people in coastal villages on the west side of Viti Levu have moved to higher ground, with warnings of heavy seas and swells.

Tropical cyclone Gene is now heading west of Fiji, and is likely to hit Vanuatu.

Fiji's metservice says at the moment the storm is 100-kilometres to the west of Nadi.

It says Gene has become slow moving, and is expected to gradually turn and move towards Vanuatu.

Cyclone forecaster, Alipate Waqaicelua, says the cyclone is likely to reach hurricane status in the next day and a half.

A damaging gale warning remains in force for the western half of Viti Levu, Vatulele, the Yasawa and Mamanuca group and nearby smaller islands.

A strong wind warning remains in force for the rest of the Fiji group.

All schools around the country are closed today due to flash flood warnings and the damage to infrastructure.

In its reports of damage, The Fiji Village news site says a metre of flood water has entered the Navua Hospital.

According to Navua Fire Authority Officer In charge, Nabi Buksh, patients have been shifted to the upper level of the hospital and if it gets worse they will be transferred to the Suva Hospital.