Although the cyclone was category 4 – the second highest level – gusts of wind were 270km an hour at times. Both the wind and the rain caused damage. Many houses in Fiji are not strong and can easily be destroyed in a storm. Some houses blew away in the wind and other houses lost their roofs. Rivers flooded into houses also. More than 8,000 people were in emergency shelters last night.
Areas in the north west of both main islands have lost power and running water. Roads are closed because of floods, fallen trees and damaged bridges.
The New Zealand Red Cross has sent a team of Red Cross workers to Samoa and money to help the Fijian Red Cross. The New Zealand government has promised nearly $1m for Samoa and Fiji immediately and more money later if it is needed. Our government has also sent equipment like tents, water containers, chain saws and electricity generators to both countries on Air NZ flights. Air NZ cancelled flights from Auckland to Fiji yesterday but some flights are back to normal today.
• gust of wind – sudden, strong burst of wind
• emergency shelters – safe buildings like community halls, schools etc
• running water – water which runs from a tap
• Red Cross – volunteers who help after a disaster; many are medical people
• generator – uses diesel oil to make electricity
• back to normal – yesterday was unusual, today is usual again (this is a useful phrase to learn)