Fiji hammered by severe cyclone, no deaths reported

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 16, 2012 7:43 PM
Fiji hammered by severe cyclone, no deaths reported

(Reuters) - More than 8,000 people, including foreign tourists, were evacuated to emergency shelters as Fiji was battered by a severe tropical cyclone, with winds topping 230kmh (140 mph) and floods damaging homes and resorts.

There were no reports of casualties as Tropical Cyclone Evan roared over the Pacific island nation on Monday, uprooting palm trees, tearing roofs off buildings and blowing down power lines.

A category four storm, the second highest level, when it hit Fiji, Evan had weakened and moved about 160km (100 miles) south of the main island of Viti Levu by Tuesday morning, the Fiji Metrological Service said. The storm was forecast to weaken further as it headed into cooler southern waters.

Cyclone Evan killed at least four people in the islands of Samoa last week before setting its sights on Fiji, which relies on tourism and sugar exports. (Reporting by Lincoln Feast in Wellington; Editing by John Mair)