Cyclone Evan 'nerve-wracking'

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 15:00 18/12/2012
Amelia Peter
Amelia Peter

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A Blenheim teenager holidaying in Fiji is helping clean up the destruction of tropical cyclone Evan today.

Amelia Peter, 17, spent a ''nerve-wracking'' night, cramped with seven other people in a small room in their hotel, as the category 4 storm swept through Denarau Island last night.

This morning the worst of the storm had passed, leaving behind a trail of flooded, roofless homes with smashed windows, felled trees and power lines. Debris was everywhere, she said.

Roofs have been stripped, trees are lying around everywhere, everything is closed and there are no communications with the rest of Fiji.

The worst of the storm swept through about 10pm, she said.

The blinds were drawn to protect them if the windows broke, but they could hear the wind howling and the doors and windows shaking.

We were in the dark because we lost power but we heard a massive tree fall down and the tin off roofs flying about,'' she said.

I wasn't scared, but it was pretty nerve-wracking when we could hear people outside yelling.

It was high tide when the worst of the storm hit the tree-fringed island, causing waves to sweep on to the resort's front lawn and spill into the swimming pools.

The beach was usually about 100 metres from the resort.

This morning, guests helped mop up the ground floor of the resort, which had flooded, and cleaned up the hotel restaurant where the wind had blown out the windows, she said.

Power and phone services were still not back on, and they couldn't drink the water.

However, they had been sufficiently warned and had plenty of drinking water and food to get them through, she said.

Amelia, who was holidaying with her boyfriend and his parents, was scheduled to return to New Zealand on Thursday, but hoped to be back earlier.

Air New Zealand flights from Auckland to Nadi, in Fiji were scheduled to return to normal today, with two flights expected to land there late this afternoon. 

Cyclone Evan has been downgraded to a category three storm today and the Fiji Meteorology Office has cancelled hurricane alerts.

The Fiji Ministry of Information said reports pointed to extensive damage to roads, bridges, power lines, houses and community halls.

There were no reports of deaths and injuries.

New Zealand contributed close to $1 million to help Samoa and Fiji in the aftermath of Cyclone Evan, and further funding was expected.

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- The Marlborough Express

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