5 Jan 2004

Samoa National Diaster Committee meets for damage control from Cyclone Heta

2:55 pm on 5 January 2004

Samoa's National Diaster Committee has called for a meeting this afternoon to coordinate a response to approaching Cyclone Heta predicted to strike in full force tonight.

The islands of Upolu and Savaii are experiencing power failures and telecommunications to the west and northwest coast of Savaii has been cut.

The head of the Samoa Met Service Ausetalia Titimaia says the diaster committee are surveying the extent of damages to the islands.

Mr Titimaia says it's was heading south east, but expected now to hit south of Apia.

"The latest we have is its speeding up to about 12 miles per hour and increasing to about maybe 100 percent in the past 12 hours so it could mean its moving southwest and away from us over the next 24 hours."

Mr Titimaia says warnings of storm force winds are still out with high surf waves, of up to 16 to 24 feet.