16 Mar 2010

Cyclone Ului inches over Solomons, maintaining strength

10:05 pm on 16 March 2010

The category four cyclone battering the Solomon Islands is moving only slowly from the southern part of the country but is maintaining its strength.

Transport services in the Solomon Islands have been largely brought to a halt by the destructive conditions of Cyclone Ului which is moving in a west south-west direction at about four knots.

Reports emerging from the country show the province of Rennel and Bellona has been the worst hit so far with at least ten houses destroyed and crops severely damage

A spokesman for the Disaster Maagement Office, Julian Makaa, says the people of Rennell and Bellona have been suffering severe weather since Sunday night:

"We've organised for a rapid assessment team to fly over as soon as the weather improves to give us a clear asessment of the damage before we can ascertain how much food needs to get them, but we hope that they would have sweet potatoes and cassava available while they are trying to keep themselves alive during this bad weather."

While forecasters said (late Tuesday) that Ului would continue to batter Solomons Islands for another two days, passenger ferries and airlines have reduced their services.

Communications with outer islands remains poor.