Fiji declares state of disaster as TC Yasa wreaks havoc in Vanua Levu

By RNZ Pacific

Many houses in Fiji’s Vanua Levu have been destroyed, some families sheltered under beds and tables in their houses and others in cane plantations, as Cyclone Yasa wreaked havoc in many parts of the Northern Division, Fiji Village reports.

Buildings and crops were been destroyed in Fiji’s second largest island and there’s been widespread flooding and landslides.

Fiji had earlier declared a state of natural disaster.

Yasa is heading south through the Southern Lau Island group.

In Bua, some people had to flee as their houses disintegrated in the wind.

In Koro, destructive winds and heavy rain are being felt in Nasau Village and people have been relocated to two evacuation centres.

Panapasa Nayabakoro, who lives in Koro, said 32 people are sheltering at the Nasau Health Centre and the rest are in a school. He said most of their houses are flooded and some were houses blown away.

A teacher at Nacamaki District School in Koro, Ilisabeta Daurewa, said they are experiencing damaging winds and several kitchen sheds in the village have been blown away.

She said more than 100 people are taking shelter in six classrooms at the school.

Taveuni, where more than 1,400 people spent the night in evacuation centres, is still being hit by winds.

Emergency personnel will be able to assess the scale of the damage once it is safe for crews to go out, the National Disaster Management Office says.

Yasa shows signs of weakening
Yasa is showing signs of weakening after striking overnight, but it remains a category five storm.

Sakeasi Waibuta from Fiji’s Met Service said the storm sat over Vanua Levu for three hours.

“It remains …a category 5, but intensity-wise for the winds, it has dropped from 240 kilometres per hour to 200 kilometres per hour.

“On satellite it is showing signs of initial weakening.”

Waibuta said the were still waiting on full reports on damage, and storm surges had also been expected.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

This post was originally published on Radio Free.