Roundup: Tropical cyclone Ana causes extensive damages to Fiji

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SUVA, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Tropical cyclone Ana, the first one that hit Fiji this year, has caused extensive damages to the South Pacific island nation.

According to a statement by Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) on Sunday, around 10:00 p.m. local time on Saturday night, the center of tropical cyclone Ana moved past the northern part of the Yasawa islands and headed towards Fiji's main island of Viti Levu before strengthening into a category 2 system.

At 6:00 a.m. local time on Sunday morning, the cyclone made landfall near Rakiraki in the northern part of Viti Levu and continued to track south-southeast over the central part of Fiji towards the capital area of Suva.

By midday on Sunday, the center of Ana was located over the coast of Viti Levu between Suva and Navua, a town about 38 km west of Suva heading towards Kadavu in the southern part of Fiji.

The FMS said very strong winds have been reported over Kadavu on Sunday morning and tropical cyclone Ana is expected to pass Kadavu on Sunday night.

Close to the center of the cyclone, destructive storm force winds with average speeds of 100 km per hour and momentary gusts of up to 140 km per hour will continue to be felt over most parts of Fiji, including the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji.

The FMS warned that winds of this strength and speed can cause significant damage to trees, weak structures and houses, heavy damage to crops and power failures.

According to local media reports, the tropical cyclone, which has brought heavy rain and strong winds, has caused extensive damages to the island nation while five people, including a 3-year-old boy, went missing.

The main rivers in the nation have surged, some villages in the low-lying areas have been flooded and some highways across the nation have been closed. Fallen trees, broken power lines and landslides were also reported in the nation.

In capital city of Suva, Xinhua correspondents found some big trees near Fiji's State House, the government building and the Port of Suva have fallen to the ground and rescue workers are busy removing them.

Currently, a total of 7,612 people are taking shelter in 204 evacuation center across the nation.

Fiji's Education Ministry has confirmed that all schools in Fiji will remain closed on Monday until further notice.

The FMS warned of more heavy rains and strong winds on Sunday and Monday. The Fijian authorities have urged people to continue to stay safe at home.

Last December, tropical cyclone Yasa hit Fiji, killing four people and causing extensive damage to houses and schools, especially in the northern part of the island nation.

The tropical cyclone season in the South Pacific region runs between November and April every year and Fiji was predicted to experience up to three tropical cyclones during the current season. Enditem

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