6 Jan 2004

Niue blasted by Heta

9:28 pm on 6 January 2004

Niue is currently being blasted by tropical Cyclone Heta and all but emergency communication links to the tiny island have gone down.

Heta has already left a trail of damage to buildings and crops in Samoa and lesser effects in Tonga.

A state of emergency has been declared in American Samoa after the territor was hit by high winds, strong waves and heavy rainfall which caused extensive damge to critical infrastructure as well as public and private property.

Heta was expected to pass within 100 kilometres of Niue landfall and all residents were being warned to shelter in doors.

Cyclone Heta is expected to cause major damage to Niue.

The sustained winds at the eye of the cyclone are estimated to be up to 200 kilometres an hour with gusts up to 280 kilometres.