Wellingtonian stuck in cyclone-hit Samoa

WILD WEATHER: The cyclone heads for Samoa.
WILD WEATHER: The cyclone heads for Samoa.

A Wellington woman is stranded in Samoa as devastating Cyclone Evan is expected to return.  

Tati Skelton, 27, is in Samoa to celebrate a New Zealand family member's now-cancelled wedding at La Vasa Resort in Apia.

Cyclone Evan battered Apia yesterday, inflicting massive damage and reportedly killing three people.  It is expected to return today with even greater force.

The family are hunkering down in their rooms at Hotel Kitano Tusitala as they brace themselves for the cyclone's expected return.

"Some trees have fallen over, the roads are broken up and there's flooding," Skelton said.

"We have two 7-year-olds and a 1-year-old with us who were a bit freaked out last night.

"But we're all OK, everyone's just getting bored."

The family have booked into the resort for another night after not being able to get into La Vasa as planned.
Skelton's cousin was staying at La Vasa and had to be evacuated to another resort. He was unharmed.

The mother of the bride was stranded in Fiji after her flight from Sydney to Samoa was rerouted midflight yesterday, Skelton said.

She has since returned to Sydney.

The rest of the family have been in Samoa since Friday.

They are from Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland. The wedding has been rescheduled until next year with the bride said to be "really disappointed".

Tusitala is caring for 16 New Zealanders at the moment, with all occupants ordered to stay in their rooms until further notice.

"Everyone's been safe and sound in their rooms since yesterday, no one's allowed to walk around," a front desk staff member said.

"We have a special room where people can have their dinners and breakfast, then they must return to their rooms."

Resort staff stocked up on food and supplies yesterday morning when news of the impending cyclone broke.
The hotel has not been damaged, just the garden and trees which have been knocked about, staff said.

No one has been hurt.

The hotel is "in the middle of it" but is strong and secure and not been affected, Skelton said.

The Dominion Post