13 Jan 2011

Still no contact with cyclone-hit Vanuatu province

7:48 pm on 13 January 2011

Vanuatu's Disaster Management Office says its hasn't yet been able to make contact with the areas thought to be worst hit by Tropical Cyclone Vania.

Communication channels have been down because of the storm which pummelled Tafea province with winds of up to 140 kilometres per hour.

The cyclone is making its way slowly southwestwards towards New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands which is on red alert in preparation for the storm.

Schools and businesses have closed and people forced indoors because of high seas and strong winds.

Vanuatu's Meteorological Office expects the cycone to intensify over the next few hours before weakening as it heads south over cooler waters.