5 Feb 2010

Cyclone Oli hits French Polynesia

11:53 am on 5 February 2010

Cyclone Oli struck French Polynesia on Thursday, forcing hundreds of people living on the coast to be evacuated, hitting transport and driving tourists into temporary shelters.

Authorities told residents to stay indoors as winds of up to 200 km/h threw up waves of up to 7 metres.

On the main island Tahiti, several hundred people were forced to abandon houses near the shore overnight although the impact was lessening as the storm moved away.

Roads were closed to all traffic apart from the emergency services and harbours and airports were closed.

Witnesses quoted by French radio said roofs had been blown from housetops and at least one boat had been sunk in the storm.

Several people were hurt slightly but there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries.