14 Feb 2018

Cyclone Gita: Vanuatu activates provincial disaster offices

2:19 pm on 14 February 2018

Vanuatu authorities have stepped up a gear as Cyclone Gita tracks towards its southern islands.

Cyclone Gita - Wednesday 2pm

Cyclone Gita as photographed by NASA at about midday Wednesday Photo: NASA

Gita was upgraded to a the highest Category 5 level this morning and is moving in from the east after hitting Fiji's southern islands.

Vanuatu weather authorities are expecting the system to weaken before it enters Vanuatu's waters.

But Peter Korisa of the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office said they were still on the alert.

The country was devastated by Cyclone Pam in 2015 and grazed by Donna last year and Mr Korisa said his office had been fielding calls from concerned people.

"They are asking us about the information and we are also giving them some brief information regarding the movement of the system. We also use cellphones, you know we communicate directly to some community members. We'll start giving out advisories to communities when the system moves closer to our area of responsibility."

Peter Korisa said they were working with Radio Vanuatu to get the latest updates out to the islands.

He said the Vanuatu Met Service will have the authority to issue public advisories once the cyclone moves into Vanuatu's area, which is expected in the next 48 hours.

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