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Fiji lashed by powerful cyclone

The Fiji Islands
At least six people have died and thousands are without power or water after Cyclone Gene lashed Fiji.

At least six people have died, half of Fiji's population is without power and water, and tourists remain stranded after category two Cyclone Gene lashed Fiji. Winds gusted at 140km/h (88mph), tearing off roofs, causing flooding and bringing down trees and power lines. Hundreds of people took refuge in schools and government shelters after fleeing damaged houses. Forecasters warned of further serious flooding, as the tail-end of the storm dumped large amounts of rain on Fiji. The cyclone is moving slowly westward towards Vanuatu, forcing the authorities there to issue a cyclone alert. The Disaster Management Office in the capital Suva said the CYCLONE HAD NOT BEHAVED LIKE OTHERS. "We were not really ready for it since the hurricane just DEVELOPED ALL OF A SUDDEN, and then we were caught off balance when it struck. This one really followed a pattern that is quite different from the pattern that we normally follow. It is QUITE UNIQUE in a way."

Record rainfall causes heavy flooding in Samoa
A clean up is underway in Samoa's capital, Apia, after extensive flooding caused by the highest rainfall ever recorded by the local weather bureau.

The 108 millimetres over the last four days came from a low pressure trough that emerged south of the country.

Most businesses were closed, schools were dismissed early and many cars broke down in the floodwaters.
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