30 Jan 2008

Fiji still cleaning up after Cyclone Gene

9:57 am on 30 January 2008

Power and water outages have been experienced widely in Fiji where

the death toll from Tropical Cyclone Gene's path is reported to be as high as six.

Fiji's Disaster Management Office is yet to assess the total damage but half the country's population may have been affected.

People are going without basic services in parts of both Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

The cyclone's destructive winds, gusting to 150 kilometres an hour, have destroyed buildings in some parts.

The worst affected areas appear to be Labasa, in Vanua Levu's north, and other communities in the island's southwest.

A strong wind warning remains in force for the Fiji islands

The latest report we have from the Vanuatu Metservice says at five am local time, Gene was located about 360 kilometres east of Futuna Island.

Winds close to its centre are estimated at 90 kilometres an hour and it is moving west at approximately 20 kilometres an hour.

Forecasts predict Cyclone Gene to intensify as it moves towards Vanuatu over the next 18 hours.