16 Mar 2010

Fiji's Vanua Levu battered by cyclone Tomas

6:17 am on 16 March 2010

Cyclone Tomas is moving slowly southwards, after affecting Vanua Levu in Fiji last night.

The category four storm is producing winds of up to 270 kilometres per hour, and is said to have generated waves seven metres high.

Thousands of people have spent the night in emergency shelters.

A former deputy prime minister of Fiji, Tupeni Baba, says contact was lost with his home village in Vanua Levu last night.

But he says everything possible has been done to prepare for the storm.

"It's been very good the warning that we received and we are reasonably warned about preparing for what's coming. The smaller islands of the Lau group is going to be badly hit if the present course is taken, that includes Lakeba and all the islands of Lauta that are low lying."

Tupeni Baba says damage is reported to buildings, boats and crops.