Fiji cyclone death toll 17, and a dozen missing

Wellington (dpa) - The death toll in the South Pacific island state of Fiji hit by Cyclone Ami this week has reached 17 with a similar number of people still missing, according to reports from the capital Suva on Saturday.

The missing include six lost at sea when they failed to return from a fishing trip, Radio New Zealand reported.

Fiji's northern and eastern administrative regions were declared national disaster areas after being lashed by Cyclone Ami that brought winds gusting up to 185 kilometres an hour, heavy rains and tidal waves that flooded large areas.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, who flew over the affected regions in a New Zealand air force plane on Wednesday, said the damage would run into millions of dollars.

dpa db ps AP-NY-01-17-03 1557EST

Copyright (c) 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/17/2003 15:57:28


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