22 Mar 2010

Tomas also causes destruction on Fiji's Vanua Balavu island

1:48 pm on 22 March 2010

Fiji's ousted Prime Minister says Cyclone Tomas has caused widespread destruction on his island of Vanua Balavu in the Lau Group.

The leader of the SDL Party, Laisenia Qarase says it was the most damaging hurricane in living memory.

He says 20 of the 55 homes in his village of Mavana were destroyed, and he has heard similar reports from other villages in the island.

"Apart from the severe damages to homes, kitchens, things like that, there has been very wide destruction of crops and trees and so on. There has been widespread destruction too, of public buildings such as schools, community halls, churches."

Laisenia Qarase says the coconut industry, which is the island's main source of income, has been wiped out.

He says some food supplies have arrived on the island but more will be needed.

He says people who have lost their homes are staying with relatives and they are putting up temporary structures for them.