16 Dec 2012

Fiji northern authorities impose curfew in preparation for cyclone

9:27 pm on 16 December 2012

Authorities in Fiji's north are imposing a curfew in the town of Labasa as it prepares for Tropical Cyclone Evan which is expected to begin affecting Vanua Levu from tonight.

The commissioner of the Northern Division, Ilai Moceica, ordered officials to prevent unnecessary movement from 8pm on Sunday.

The cyclone is expected to pass near the northern part of the Fiji group overnight and into Monday.

Civil servants in the Northern and Western Divisions have been asked to stay home on Monday.

In the North, 61 evacuation centres have been set up, and 21 in the Western Division.

420 police officers are on standby in the Central Division in emergency preparation as the cyclone passes.

Fiji's military forces have also begun mobilising personnel across the country to respond if they are needed.

On Monday, the cyclone is expected to pass close to the Yasawa Group, a popular tourist destination.

Four high-speed catamarans, operated by South Sea Cruises, evacuated more than 500 tourists, resort staff and villagers to Nadi on Sunday.

Air Pacific has cancelled several flights for Monday which is when the country should be feeling the brunt of the cyclone.

Air Pacific has rescheduled other flights: its Los Angeles-Nadi flight has been delayed by 24 hours to arrive on Tuesday; its Sydney flights have also been delayed until Tuesday.