7 Apr 2020

Fiji braces for Cyclone Harold

4:28 pm on 7 April 2020

People in Fiji have been advised to prepare themselves as the country braces for the impact of Cyclone Harold this week.

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Photo: AFP / DPA

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) said it had activated the national emergency operations centre.

A cyclone alert remains in force for Yasawa, the Mamanuca Group, Viti Levu, Kadavu, Lomaiviti and Southern Lau.

On its projected track, Harold, currently a category five storm, was expected to lose strength but pass just south of Kadavu before moving towards southern Lau on Wednesday.

The NDMO urged families and communities to put into practice their disaster preparedness plans.

Authorities were also monitoring the Navua River as the town had been experiencing heavy rainfall for days.

Meanwhile, villagers on Kadavu had been urged to start moving to higher ground.

The Kadavu Provincial Council said all village headmen had been directed to begin evacuating their people.

The council warned Cyclone Harold had the potential to create tidal waves which could reach up to six metres in height.

The country's flag carrier, Fiji Airways, also moved to safeguard its larger aircraft, but leaving them abroad until the cyclone passes.

The airline said the A330 planes were in Brisbane and Sydney and would return once the storm had passed.

It said two B737 planes and its entire Fiji Link domestic fleet were being secured at the airline's hangar facility in Nadi.

Climate change officer, George Dregaso, examines map at NDMO headquarters in Lautoka, Fiji

NDMO headquarters Photo: RNZ/Sally Round