Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fiji braces for Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston

A POWERFUL category-five tropical cyclone, being described as the strongest on record in the southern hemisphere, is bearing down on Fiji’s outer islands with hurricane-force winds of 300km/h.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, with ferocious gusts of up to 360 km/h, has already hit areas in the Molala and Lau group of islands. It is forecast to pass between the two main populated islands overnight Saturday, tracking north of Fiji’s capital of Suva. The deadliest conditions are expected to occur tonight and in the morning.

The Fijian government has imposed a nationwide curfew from 6pm, with only essential emergency services permitted to travel.

Hundreds of people have already been evacuated as refuge centres were activated across Fiji as Winston intensified its path on the Pacific island nation.

The country’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama pleaded for people not to be complacent, fearing residents of urban areas were not heeding the warnings about the severity of the threat.

“As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We must stick together as a people and look after each other. Be alert and be prepared,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“I urge you all, if you haven’t already done so, to finalise your own preparations to survive this terrible event.”

Mr Bainimarama urged people Fijians to secure their properties, stock up their supplies and remain indoors as the risk of being hit by flying debris was “extremely high”.

“Let us all pray for our nation, ourselves and each other and ask God’s blessing on our beloved Fiji.”

Power blackouts have already struck several parts of Fiji. Authorities say electricity will only be restored when the situation becomes safe enough to work in those sites. Social media is awash with videos of the escalating tropical cyclone, some showing infrastructure damage...

1 comment:

  1. Flights cancelled as powerful cyclone bears down on Fiji...

    Fiji warned residents to brace for an onslaught on Saturday (Feb 20) as a category five super-storm bears down on the Pacific island nation, with international flights cancelled and evacuation centres activated.

    "As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind," Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said in a national address.

    "We must stick together as a people and look after each other. Be alert and be prepared."

    Severe tropical cylone Winston, with average winds of 220 kilometres (136 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 315 kilometres per hour, was forecast to hit the main island Viti Levu overnight Saturday, according to the Fiji meteorological office.

    The storm brushed by the more northerly island of Vanua Levu on Saturday afternoon, with unconfirmed reports of trees felled and roofs blown off houses.

    "I've never seen such a strong cyclone as this one in 60 years," local resident Zalim Hussein told AFP by phone.

    "This is a monster cyclone, without doubt the strongest we've ever experienced. We're all very scared and hope it goes away quickly."

    National Disaster Management director Akapusi Tuifagalele told the Fijilive website that 758 evacuation centres had been prepared in the nation of about 900,000......AFP


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