31 Jan 2003

Cyclone Beni still moving towards New Caledonia

7:40 am on 31 January 2003

Huge waves pounded the shores of Vanuatu yesterday as Cyclone Beni continued to move south-southeast at about 8 knots.

Police in Vanuatu say no damage or casualties have been reported.

The Vanuatu meteorological office say Beni is expected to weaken and them move south and track southwest passing close to the New Caledonia capital, Noumea.

Wind speeds are expected to drop to 60 or 70 knots at the cyclone's centre.

Parts of New Caledonia are now on maximum alert.

School holidays camps in the Noumea area have been closed and military reinforcements have been sent to the Loyalty Islands ahead of Beni's arrival.