Cyclone Jasmine battering Vanuatu's south

from Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Published on 08 Feb 2012 View Original

Created: Wed, 08 Feb 2012 13:13:48 GMT-0500 Last Updated: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 16:38:00 +1100

Severe tropical cyclone Jasmine is causing problems for Vanuatu's southern islands.

The category four cyclone is generating winds of up to 165 kilometres an hour.

The hurricane force winds are expected to continue for 12 to 24 hours.

Neville Koop from the Suva-based Nadraki weather office has told Radio Australia the cyclone is still tracking south, south east.

He said it will run parallel to the islands "not quite hitting them on square".

"So it may not actually pass over the islands of Vanuatu, but on the track it's on it could potentially be even worse because it is going to stay just to the south of them for most of today by the looks. It is starting to slow down, which is a concern also, because as it slows down it will just take longer to clear away."

Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Cyril is north of Tonga, bringing with it strong winds.

Cyril is located about 740 kilometres east of Fiji, and heading east, south east.

It is also expected to affect flood-stricken Fiji.

A cyclone alert has been declared across most of Tonga, with high seas expected in Fiji.

Aid effort

Aid agency Oxfam said it's preparing to deal with possible food and water shortages in Vanuatu, as Cyclone Jasmine approaches.

Oxfam's Vanuatu director, Alex Mathieson, says they're using last year's severe weather to gaugue problems that may be encountered this year.

"Judging by the experiences of last year there were some damage to people's homes, and other shelter, and some school buildings," he said.

"And also there was some impact on crops, which impacted on people's short to medium term access to food.

"There was also damage and pollution to water sources".

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