Families fearful as Evan strikes Fiji islands

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Cyclone Evan
Reuters

Violent winds: Strong waves caused by Cyclone Evan wash a beach in Queen Elizabeth Dr, in Suva.

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Fears were growing last night among Hamilton's Fijian community as they awaited news of Cyclone Evan's trail of destruction through their home nation.

As the Category Four storm inched closer to Viti Levu, ex-pat Fijian and long-time Hamilton resident Nemani Delaibatiki - who has just returned from seven weeks in Fiji - worried about the safety of family and friends.

"I have tried to contact them but I haven't been able to so I hope everything is OK. I don't know if the phones are working or not. Maybe they have left their homes and made it to relief centres."

Mr Delaibatiki was in Auckland when the Times spoke to him and he said there was little he could do from New Zealand.

His main concern is for the potential loss of life but he said damage to property and crops could have lasting effects.

"Fiji depends on agriculture and a lot of people depend on food crops."

Hamilton's Craig Muntz was raised in Suva and has family "all over" Fiji from Lautoka on western side of Viti Levu to Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu.

His greatest concern is for the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands that sit off the north western coast of Viti Levu.

"They are small, they are low and exposed and it looks like the eye is going right over them," Mr Muntz said.

There are low-lying resorts in the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands and Mr Muntz said the combination of Cyclone Evan and seasonal tides could be a recipe for disaster.

"It's going to create a lot of damage if it continues that way."

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- Waikato Times

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