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Cyclone Keni has now moved out of Fiji waters and lies about 275 kilometres south-southwest of the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa.
The Fiji Met Service said the cyclone remains a category three storm packing winds of 130 kilometres per hour, gusting up to 185.
However, Keni was forecast to weaken drastically as it continued to move southeast into cooler waters.
The Met Service said within the next 18 hours the system could cease to be a cyclone.
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
The Fijian island of Kadavu suffered a direct hit with homes destroyed, trees uprooted and boats capsized on the island's south side.
At its peak, average wind gusts were up to 195km/h.
One of the owners of the Matava Resort on Kadavu Luke Kerchevale says the storm seemed to come out of nowhere.
“Quite a large boat is capsized because we couldn't get it to shelter soon enough. We've had a number of huge mango trees come down on a lot of our buildings,” said Luke Kerchevale
The Australian who along with co-owner Mark hails from Canberra and Sydney said thankfully all of their staff and guests were safe but he said they were really worried for people in the nearby villages.
“They are really struggling. A lot of the villages have lost their houses completely. We have got a small village next to us who have had to do a walk around the mountain to get to us for shelter because they have lost everything where they are...it was pretty full on,” Kerchevale said.
Kerchevale said they would head out to check on people in the villages once they were sure the cyclone had passed and they were able to clear debris from around the resort.
On the nearby island of Ono-Kadavu local Paul Ragede says super strong winds from the cyclone raged for over two hours.
Ragede said his village was fortunate that a lot of their buildings were strong structures but people he has contacted at Vunisea the main government station on Kadavu says there has been alot of destruction.
“It is really bad the school library, secondary school library there at Vunisea has gone down, the post master's office, root crops and all the big big trees have been like folded as if they were pieces of paper,” Paul Ragede said.
Fiji's meteorological service said Nadi and the south-west of Viti Levu have escaped the worst effects of the Tropical Cyclone.
The service's director Ravindra Kumar said the category three system changed direction late on Tuesday afternoon and sped up towards the south-east.
According to him, this meant the strongest hurricane force winds were over water and didn't make land-fall on Viti Levu.
Meanwhile, seven teams from the Fiji Red Cross Society are ready to be deployed as soon as the flood waters recede in flood affected areas in the Western Division.
FRCS Spokesperson Maciu Bolaitamana will they are currently monitoring the situations as most parts of the Western Division are flooded.
“First and foremost is to go out into the field and make our assessment and come back and analyse these assessments and see where the distribution fits in these areas.”
Bolaitamana says they will only distribute non-food items which include hygiene kits, dignity kits for pregnant mothers, water cans and purification tablets.
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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