SUVA (Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch): Cyclone Keni has moved out of Fijian waters and lies about 275km south-southwest of the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa, reports Pacnews.
The Fiji Met Service said the cyclone still remains a category three storm, with winds between 130 and 185km/h still blowing.
At its peak, average wind gusts were up to 195km/h.
Keni was forecast to weaken as it continued to move southeast into cooler waters.
Within the next 18 hours the storm could cease to be a cyclone, said Met Service.
Cyclone Keni wreaked havoc as it passed the southern islands of Fiji overnight bringing destructive winds and downpours causing flooding.
The Fiji government said all schools being used as evacuation centres would remain closed today as well as all schools on Kadavu
Kadavu suffers direct hit
Some homes collapsed and a school suffered serious damage on Kadavu at the height of Tropical Cyclone Keni last night, reports the Fiji Sun.
Anare Leweniqila, director of National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), said Kadavu appeared to be the worst hit area.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said yesterday that the government had received reports of damage to homes in Kadavu and the school in Vunisea.
“At 5pm this afternoon TC Keni is still very much in our waters, so there will be damaging winds,” said Bainimarama.
Cyclone Keni did not make landfall and it was approximately 95 km east south east of Kadavu. It was moving away last night.
Leweniqila said they would send an assessment team to Kadavu as soon as the weather permitted.
He said they did not have details of the damage.
Commissioner Eastern Luke Moroivalu confirmed receiving a report that some houses had been destroyed.
“The last report I received from the village was some dwelling houses had fallen,” he said.
He said communication to Kadavu was cut off before he could get more details.
In an earlier interview before Cyclone Keni hit, the headman (turaganikoro), Kalivati Tukutukulevu, said the village was prepared and they had eight evacuation centres, including the village hall.
Tukutukulevu said they were experiencing strong winds and they were prepared for the cyclone.
“Villages of Ono, Buliya, Dravuni and Kokomo have been told to move to their evacuation centres,” he said.
The Fiji island of Kadavu suffered a direct hit with homes destroyed, trees uprooted and boats capsized on the island’s south side.
SOURCE: PACIFIC MEDIA CENTRE