Blenheim teen faces cyclone in Fiji

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 13:20 17/12/2012
Amelia Peter
Amelia Peter

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A Blenheim teenager is one of about 400 Kiwis and thousands of Fijians preparing themselves for the worst as tropical cyclone Evan draws closer to the Pacific Island nation.

The category four storm is sitting just north of the island of Viti Levu and has already knocked out power to some areas and caused flash flooding.

Amelia Peter, 17, and her boyfriend and his family were hunkering down at the Fiji Beach Resort on Denarau Island this morning after they were evacuated yesterday by boat from the Octopus Resort on Yasawa Island.

Hotel staff were concerned about the storm's intensity and ''preparing for the worst'', she told the Marlborough Express  this morning.

''We're expecting the wind and rain to get worse sometime this afternoon and the main storm to hit later tonight,'' she said.

They were watching the storm progress on the national emergency television channel, she said.

Hotel staff secured windows and instructed them to stay away from the windows, fill their bath tubs with fresh water and stock up on food, just in case the storm took out water, power or roads, she said.

''They are quite prepared for this sort of thing - I think they are used to it,'' she said.

The group flew to Fiji on Thursday and had three beautiful days before the weather took a turn for the worse on Saturday night, she said.

''It was the calm before the storm.''

Initially the Octopus Resort staff were not concerned about the storm, but asked them to pack their bags yesterday morning after it changed direction overnight.

Although it was stressful trying to find accommodation on the main island with so many other tourists looking for shelter, they felt safe, she said.

This morning, the weather was getting stormier, with white caps on the water increasing and palm trees swaying in the wind, she said.

More than 400 New Zealanders in Fiji have registered with the High Commission.

All flights into and within Fiji were grounded this morning.Air New Zealand said today's flights to Nadi had been delayed until tomorrow.

Cyclone Evan, which has destroyed much of the Samoa's capital of Apia, killing at least one person and 12 more reported missing, also powered across two small French islands yesterday with a population of 15,000.

Nothing had been heard last night from Wallis and Futuna, between Samoa and Fiji, where Evan transformed from a category three cyclone to category four on a five-point scale.

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Do you know anyone from Marlborough who is in Fiji?  Contact reporter Kat Pickford 0272413679 kat.pickford@marlexpress.co.nz 

 

- The Marlborough Express

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