21 Feb 2011

Flooding forces evacuations in Port Vila

7:22 pm on 21 February 2011

Nearly 400 people have had to be evacuated from their homes in Vanuatu's capital as Cyclone Atu has brought gale force winds and heavy rain to Port Vila.

The Cyclone is slowly heading away from the capital but Ron Tamtam from the National Disaster Management office says low-lying areas are flooded.

"We are now starting to evacuate people from the low-lying areas to the evacuation sites. We have secured five primary schools and so far we have evacuated 381 people from around Port Villa."

Ron Tamtam says Cyclone Atu is now heading towards the southern Tafea province, which was battered by last month's cyclone Vania.

Emergency services are concerned that it will compound food shortages there.