12 Jan 2011

Cyclone causes minor damage in Vanuatu

7:07 pm on 12 January 2011

The National Disaster Management Office in Vanuatu says a tropical cyclone has caused some minor damage in the country.

Cyclone Vania is slow moving with winds of about 65 kilometres an hour.

The National Disaster Management Office says a red alert has been issued for the islands of Erromango and Tanna advising people to stay indoors, avoid the ocean and listen to the radio.

It says a yellow alert has been issued for the Tafea Outer Islands and Shefa province advising people to take precautions to protect property.

Esrom Molisa from the National Disaster Management Office says gale force winds from Cyclone Vania have had an impact on the islands of Erromango and Tanna.

"Only minor damage on food crops, like bananas and tree branches, no major damages on houses or buildings. The other thing is they have experienced flooding also in the area of Tanna and Erromango, just overflow of rivers, high levels of water in some of the rivers and low lying areas."

Esrom Molisa says a telecommunications transmitter has also been blown down on Tanna.

The Fiji Metereological Service says Cyclone Vania is heading slowly southwest towards New Caledonia and nearby islands.

The Metereological Service says winds will be around 35 to 40 knots, but the low level cyclone is not expected to go above a Category 2.

Tropical Cyclone forecaster Terry Atalifo says people in the cyclone's path should take precautions.

Winds will be pretty strong over areas of New Caledonia, there will be very heavy rain and thunderstorms as well, so it's not a good idea to go outdoors.

Terry Atalifo says vessels in waters south of New Caledonia should consider changing their route.