*Perilous Times and Global Warming
Fiji blown about by intense cyclone*
By Xavier La Canna in Auckland
April 05, 2007 10:26am
Article from: AAP
SCHOOL children narrowly escaped a mudslide through their school as
Tropical Cyclone Cliff struck Fiji yesterday.
Vive Biukoto of the Fiji Meteorological Service said the cyclone peaked
about 2pm yesterday when gusts of up to 120km/h hit the northern island
"We don't know all the damage yet. We know there were roofs blown off
and some infrastructure completely destroyed," Ms Biukoto said.
"There were big sea swells. In some places the shores were inundated by
the sea," she said.
Ms Biukoto said the category 1 cyclone hit land yesterday at Udu Point,
in Fiji's main northern island.
Colati Sairusi from the country's Disaster Management Centre said there
were flash floods reported as the cyclone hit, and a mudslide caused by
the storm destroyed a room at a primary school where students were
learning about 4pm yesterday.
He said the mudslide tore through the wall of the classroom, but the 30
students fled to safety and none was harmed.
There were local news reports that a woman died on Tuesday night while
trying to cross a bridge above swollen waters, but Mr Sairusi said the
death had not been confirmed and was likely to be unrelated to the
cyclone, which hit later.
The cyclone today drifted over the Lau group of islands in Fiji's south
east, and was expected to be downgraded to a tropical depression as it
headed towards Tonga, Ms Biukoto said.
Cyclone season in Fiji lasts from about November to the end of April.