15 Mar 2010

Fiji's security forces on standby ahead of Cyclone Tomas

11:30 am on 15 March 2010

Fiji's security forces are on standby as the nation braces itself for Cyclone Tomas, which is expected to pass over the eastern part of Vanua Levu today.

A nationwide curfew was lifted this morning to allow people to stock up on emergency supplies and food and water.

Fiji's permanent secretary for information, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, says about a hundred soldiers are on standby in Vanua Levu, the area Cyclone Tomas is expected to hit first.

He says those in low lying areas have already been evacuated and the army and the police are ready for any disaster:

"The military and police are on standby but people have moved to their evacuation centres from Friday and Saturday because that's when the warning had gone out."

The Nadi Weather Centre says the cyclone has intensified into a Category 4 system with winds averaging 170 kilometres per hour at its centre.