16 Dec 2012

Evacuation centres opened as Evan nears Fiji's north

1:45 pm on 16 December 2012

Fiji's government says people are well prepared for tropical cyclone Evan, and are now waiting for it to hit.

The category four cyclone is expected to hit northern parts of Fiji in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

It is expected to bring average winds upto 165 kilometres an hour, with momentary gusts to 230 kilometres.

The permanent secretary of information, Sharon Smith Johns, says people have already begun heading to evacuation centres.

"We've had a week's notice of this cyclone coming our way, everybody is well prepared, the cyclone shutters are up, they've been out, they've bought batteries, they've secured their houses, so they've done as much as they can possibly do. Now it's just a matter of waiting and hoping that the system, the further away it goes from Fiji, the better, but, if not, we're well prepared."

Sharon Smith John says people should refrain from unnecessary travel.

Flooding in low lying areas is possible tonight as the cyclone is expected to bring heavy downpour.

It says by sunset tonight everyone should be ready with torches, batteries, candles, supplies and other necessities.

The armed forces have been put on high alert.

The RFMF's Land Forces Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says the military has been briefed by DISMAC Officials on the expected arrival and strength of Cyclone Evan and is prepared for response.

The head of the Police Forces today reiterated the Prime Minister's message for all Fijians to refrain from unnecessary travel and activities.