Residents of coastal villages in Fiji, in the Pacific, were called on Thursday to reach the heights as Tropical Cyclone Yasa approaches, which could cause waves of up to 16 meters.
The highest category 5 cyclone continued to gain in intensity as it headed for the archipelago of Fiji, with gusts of up to 325 km / hour.
Yasa is due to make landfall late Thursday, but already many parts of these islands of some 900,000 inhabitants were inundated, cutting roads and isolating communities.
“Strong winds should blow several hours before the passage of the eye of the cyclone over” the archipelago, warned the Office of Emergency Situations. “Villagers should expect waves of up to 16 meters in height,” according to the same source.
Reception centers have been specially set up and schools and transport stopped.
In Suva, the capital, the streets were deserted Thursday morning while awaiting the arrival of the cyclone. “It’s like a ghost town,” an employee told AFP. “It’s calm now, but it’s scary, because we know it’s coming.”
New Zealand-based meteorological agency Weatherwatch said Fiji was “in the crosshairs” of the cyclone.
She warned that this cyclone was likely to have a stronger impact than Cyclone Harold, also Category 5, which had wreaked havoc in the Solomon Islands, but also in Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga.
The most violent storm over Fiji was Cyclone Winston which killed 44 people in February 2016, and damaged $ 1 billion.