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Fiji Cyclone "Tomas" Causes Destruction

Fiji was struck a category four cyclone meteorologists have coined "Tomas" caused 5,000 residents to evacuate. The cyclone hit northern Fiji, destroyed buildings and crops, displaced thousands with winds up to over 100 miles per hour or 170 km. The storm has forced schools and public services to shut down and all international flights have been cancelled. A night time curfew has been issued and is in effect until lifted. Meteorologists predict winds to intensify and report that power service has been interrupted through much of the country. Winds have torn roofs off of buildings and have created waves as high as twenty four feet or 7.2 meters. Communications have been interrupted in much of the country, especially on smaller islands.

Officials report that one woman was "swept out to sea" as a result of the cyclone. Pajilai Dobui, head of Fiji's Disaster Management Office, reported to local radio that Tomas is the most "powerful storm in recent years." Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, Fiji's main islands are unlikely to be as affected as northern sections of the country. The storm is headed on a northeastern path and is slow moving. Officials predict areas on smaller islands will be severely affected by high winds, heavy rains, and high seas.

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