19 Mar 2010

Most Fiji evacuees return home after Cyclone devastation

6:52 pm on 19 March 2010

Fiji's Disaster Management office says people in northern and eastern parts of the country are gradually returning to their homes where possible after Cyclone Tomas.

Northern parts of the Lau and Lomaiviti island groups were the worst hit as the cyclone pounded coastlines, bringing damaging swells of up to eight metres.

An estimated 18,000 people sheltered in evacuation centres during the storm, and the Disaster Management Office's acting director Pajiliai Dobui says not all have homes to return to.

"Well, with schools, they've been requested to move to other identified centres. Most, I think, are still residing with their relatives or their friends."

Meanwhile, Fiji authorities have confirmed a second person died as a result of Cyclone Tomas.

A man who was a driver for the Public Works department drowned as he tried to cross a river.

Elderly people in places hit by Cyclone Tomas are saying it's the worst storm they've experienced.

A nurse from Qelemumu in Vanua Levu's Macuata province, Yavini Velovelo, says people in her area were shocked by the storm's severity.

Most of the, the majority of the elderly people here, according to them it's the first cyclone they've come across that's very strong and damaged a lot of things in the villages.

Yavini Velovelo in Qelemumu.