17 Feb 2005

Cyclone Olaf moves south east, likely to pass west of the Cook Islands

2:59 pm on 17 February 2005

The eye of the Supercyclone, Olaf, has passed overhead in Ta'u, in the western outlying islands of Manu'a of American Samoa.

About one-thousand six-hundred people have been taking shelter in schools and churches, with 3-hundred evacuees in the Manu'a high school.

The evacuees in Manu'a told emergency officials in the American Samoa capital, Pago Pago, early this morning that they were "doing ok".

Telephone contact has since been lost, along with the electricity supply, but the evacuees have enough food and water.

Damage assessors have begun work in Pago Pago, which like the population centres of Samoa, seems to have escaped relatively unscathed.

The New Zealand Met Service says Olaf continues to head due south east at a consistent speed.

On its forecast track its expected to pass to the west of the Cook Islands.