28 Jan 2010

Cyclone Nisha buffets American Samoa

4:37 pm on 28 January 2010

Cyclone Nisha has now blown over American Samoa's Tutuila Island, but is set to intensify over the Manu'a group over the coming hours.

The department of homeland security said earlier teams assisted people still living in tents following September's tsunami for fear they could be blown away by the cyclone.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says the worst is over for Tutuila.

"The tents are holding up nicely, certainly the ones out here in Pago Pago village, there doesn't seem to be any problems with the tents. They are quite firm on the ground and I haven't seen any been blown away. I don't believe there are any tents in Manu'a, so I don't believe that that poses any problem there. We've had trees fallen and blocking the roads here and there; rocks been washed down on the roads, otherwise there haven't been any major landslides to pose a concern. [In] Manu'a, people have started to make preparations, they are boarding up their houses."

Fallen trees are blocking roads on American Samoa's Manu'a group as cyclone Nisha is intensifying.

On its current track Nisha is not expected to pose a major threat to Tutuila and Aunuu, but Manu'a is set to experience gusts of up to 96 kilometres per hour later this evening.

A resident on Manua Marge Malae says strong winds and heavy rain are battering her home.

We've lost a roof on one building. I don't know [the situation] down in the village, but it's pretty bad and there's trees on the road and stuff, but the power is still on, we haven't lost the power.

The Cook Islands has issued a cyclone alert with gale force winds set to affect Palmerston and the southern islands within the next two days.

The Cooks Disaster Management office director Charles Carlson says they are monitoring the situation.

At this stage we've issued a tropical cyclone alert within the Cook Islands on the radio; just informing the people that we do have a cyclone with the possibility of heading towards the Cook Islands. At this stage we're looking at between 36 and 48 hours [till it reaches us].

Charles Carlson says people should have enough food, water and blankets in their homes, and makes sure their roofs are in good condition.