1 Feb 2008

Cyclone Gene hits southern Vanuatu

11:23 am on 1 February 2008

A hurricane warning is now in force for the southern islands of Vanuatu.

Tropical cyclone Gene, which flattened houses and brought down power lines in Fiji, is now close to Tanna island.

Vanuatu's Metservice forecaster, David Gibson, says very strong winds and flooding are likely.

"Gene is now 50 kilometres east to south east of Futuna. The system is 80 knots, so it's likely that the islands are likely to receive 80 knot winds, it's a hurricane wind warning in force for the islands Futuna and southern parts of Tanna."

David Gibson says seas in the affected areas will be very rough and people are advised to stay sheltered until the system moves out of the area.