Over 10,000 seek refuge in Fiji as cyclone heads south

08:54, March 16, 2010      

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More than 10,000 people sheltered in evacuation centers around Fiji, with the largest number of people displaced by Hurricane Tomas in the northern part.

Weather officials said on Tuesday that the north has seen the worst of Tomas and expected winds to die down by later Tuesday.

There were 6,887 people in 118 evacuation centers in the north with 1,535 people in 38 centers in the western part, according to Fiji disaster management officials.

Fiji were preparing for the worst as the Category 4 storm heads for the southern Lau Group of islands on Tuesday, with average wind speeds of 175 km/h.

The Fiji interim government extended a curfew to 05:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Military spokesman Neumi Leweni said it applies to the central, eastern and northern areas where cyclone Tomas has created the most damage.

By mid-morning Tuesday, the eye of the cyclone was about 240 km from the capital Suva, but is not expected to directly hit the main island of Viti Levu.


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