16 Dec 2012

Part of Fiji under curfew ahead of cyclone

10:23 pm on 16 December 2012

A curfew is in place in the northern division of Fiji as tropical cyclone Evan approaches.

The category four cyclone is expected to pass near the northern group overnight and into Monday.

Tropical cyclone Evan will hit Fiji three days after it swept through Samoa, killing four people and leaving eight others missing.

The National Disaster Management Office in Fiji confirms a curfew has been put in place in the northern division. Elsewhere, people are being told to just use common sense.

Ministry of Information spokesperson Sharon Johns says 380 people have made their way to evacuation centres.

Fiji Meteorological Centre forecaster Shalwin Singh says strong winds were already being felt in some places on Sunday night, but it would only get worse.

Civil servants in the northern, and western divisions have been told not to go to work on Monday

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

Radio New Zealand International reports that in the central division, 420 police officers are on standby in emergency preparation as the cyclone passes.

The Fiji military has also begun mobilising its personnel across the country to respond should they be needed.

Fijians were urged to stock up on food, fuel and medicine, refrain from unnecessary travel and move from low-lying areas on Sunday.

Schools have been converted into evacuation centres and the police and military are on standby.

NZers in Fiji told to keep in touch with home

New Zealanders in Fiji or heading there are being urged to be in regular touch with friends and family in New Zealand as tropical cyclone Evan approaches the country.

Acting High Commissioner in Fiji Phillip Taula says New Zealanders heading there should check with their airlines and travel agents to see if their flights or accommodation have been affected.

"For New Zealanders in Fiji we're advising them to follow closely instructions being issued by local authorities which may include evacuation orders and to keep their family and friends in New Zealand informed of their well-being."

Mr Taula says they should also register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Safe Travel website.

Wallis and Futuna - some damage but no loss of life

The French administration on Wallis and Futuna says tropical cyclone Evan left damage to infrastructure but caused no loss of life as it passed over the territory.

Wallis felt more direct impact than Futuna on Sunday, with damage to roads and buildings.

Benjamin Gerard, the head of the administration's cabinet, says the houses of around 20 families were damaged but the storm has now abated.