Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold intensified into a category 5 cyclone overnight and continues to move in the east-southeast direction and away from the Fiji group.
The centre of Cyclone Harold was located about 75 kilometres east of Ono-I-Lau or about 210 kilometres south southeast of Kabara at 12am this morning.
The cyclone is currently moving east-southeast at about 43 kilometres per hour, and is quickly moving across Fijian waters.
On this track, the cyclone centre is expected to be located about 330 kilometres east-southeast of Ono-i-Lau at 6am this morning.
Close to its centre, the cyclone is estimated to have average winds of upto 205 kilometres per hour with momentary gusts to 285 kilometres per hour.
A storm warning remains in force for Ono-I-Lau.
A gale warning remains in force for the central and southern Lau group.
A strong wind warning remains in force for the rest of Fiji.
For Ono-i-Lau: expect very destructive force winds with speeds up to 110 kilometres per hour and momentary gusts to 155 kilometres per hour.
Damaging heavy swells with sea flooding of low lying coastal areas is expected during high tides, with storm surge heights of upto 2 metres expected along the coasts when the centre passes nearby.
For the central and southern Lau Group destructive storm force winds with speeds up to 85 kilometres per hour and momentary gusts to 120 kilometres per hour.
A flood warning is in place for low lying areas and areas adjacent to and downstream of the Navua, Ba, Wainibuka, Rewa, Wainimala, Waimanu, Sigatoka and Tuva River.
Situation report : Kadavu
Kadavu felt the full brunt of Tropical Cyclone Harold yesterday afternoon.
Tropical Cyclone Harold caused severe damage in the village of Bulia in Kadavu.
Almost 20 houses were damaged due to the strong winds.
Bulia villager Iliesa Cokanasiga says that they prepared for TC Harold but they did not anticipate that the strength of the wind will be so strong that it also damaged some of the newly built houses.
Cokanasiga says from 2pm to 4pm yesterday , they experienced strong winds adding some of the houses were destroyed while others had their rooftops blown away.
He says they are very lucky that the cyclone hit the island when it was still daylight.
Cokanasiga says they also experienced storm surges.
Meanwhile, earlier yesterday afternoon, TC Harold left widespread damages in Dravuni Village in Kadavu.
[Dravuni,Kadavu. Photo: Makereta Kovelali/ Jerry Keri]
Situation update: Lau
Namuka-I-Lau villager, Maciu Rokobuli says they were well prepared for Tropical Cyclone Harold as they were briefed by their Village Headman one day before the cyclone entered Fiji waters.
Rokobuli says strong wind and heavy rain were experienced from 2 yesterday afternoon and it continued till around 10 last night.
He adds they also experienced storm surges.
Lomaloma Village in Vanuabalavu
The Village Headman of Lomaloma Village in Vanuabalavu, Sovakele Levaci says they have experienced storm surges with strong winds last evening and early this morning.
Levaci says their farms and crops have been damaged due to TC Harold.
He adds that strong wind and heavy rain were experienced from yesterday afternoon but they were prepared for this natural disaster.
Mabula in Cicia
Pita Rarasea of Mabula villager in Cicia, says TC Harold has damaged their village bridge and their crops.
Tailevu North College partially damaged due to strong winds experienced this morning
Tailevu North College is partially damaged due to the strong winds that was experienced this morning.
Police have confirmed that they have received reports of damages to the school earlier today.
The roof of the school was also blown away.
Earlier in the day nine houses have been damaged and several people were injured in Wainokavula Village, Tailevu.
Police officers were deployed to the area after they received reports of this.
Lawaki Village suffers damages due to TC Harold
A few houses in Lawaki Village in Tailevu were damaged while some had their rooftops blown away by strong winds brought by Tropical Cyclone Harold.
Village Headman, Levani Tamani says the experience was similar to what they had gone through when TC Winston hit the Fiji Group in 2016.
Tamani says farms were also affected as strong winds uprooted most of their crops.
Tamani adds that people who have been affected are staying with relatives in the village.
Toga crossing in Nausori is currently flooded
The Toga Crossing in Nausori is currently flooded.
Minister for Infrastructure and Disaster Management Jone Usamate shared a video on his Twitter page from the site which shows the crossing underwater.
Flooded Toga crossing this morning pic.twitter.com/yrBbRxJMYc— Jone Usamate (@JoneUsamate) April 8, 2020
The video also shows fallen power lines in the area.
Movement restriction lifted for VIti Levu however national curfew from 8pm-5am still stands
The movement restriction that was in place for Viti Levu has been lifted however the national curfew that is from 8pm-5am still stands.
National Disaster Management Office Director Vasiti Soko says they are yet to receive reports from Kadavu, nearby smaller islands and Southern Lau group.
Soko says they are seeking assistance from members of the public who are able to contact their families in these areas to pass on the information to the Commissioner Eastern Emergency Operations Centre on 7775485 or 3313400 to assist the NDMO.
She is urging people to exercise caution while travelling on the road adding they are also working closely with their first responders to assist people who are still in evacuation centres.
More than 1,700 people in evacuation centres
[Both Nasoata and Taiperia residents have been evacuated, with the help of our RFMF forces, to Natabua Primary School and are now safe. Photo: Fijian Government]
1,768 people are currently staying in 85 evacuation centres around the country.
The National Disaster Management Office says the Western Division has 40 evacuation centres with 1,086 people.
Residents from Taiperia and Navutu settlements have been safely evacuated by our hardworking forces.— Fijian Government (@FijianGovt) April 8, 2020
We are on alert so we can do our job of keeping #Fijians safe during this emergency.#TeamFiji #Fiji #FijianGovernment #TCHarold pic.twitter.com/1vJdGCzQps
There are 39 evacuation centres with 559 people in the Central Division.
Two evacuation centres are open in the Northern Division with 33 people and the Eastern Division has 90 people in 4 evacuation centres.
Navutu residents have been dropped off at the Lautoka Methodist Primary School in another successful evacuation by our brave RFMF forces.— Fijian Government (@FijianGovt) April 8, 2020
If you require assistance, call:
❇️ 915 - National Emergency Operations Centre
❇️1539 - Maritime Emergency#Fiji #TCHarold #FijianGovernment pic.twitter.com/lVpRcmdWs8
Australia pledges support to Fiji's relief efforts after TC Harold
The Australian Government has pledged an initial $350,000 for Fiji government’s relief efforts for Tropical Cyclone Harold.
This has been confirmed by the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes.
Feakes has also paid tribute to the Fiji's emergency and disciplined services working to keep Fijians safe during TC Harold.
I take my hat off to the men and women at @FijiNDMO and all those from Fiji's emergency and disciplined services working to keep Fijians safe during #TC Harold. We have made available an initial AUD250,000 (approx FJD350,000) for the Fiji Government's relief efforts.— John Feakes (@AusHCFJ) April 8, 2020
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison says they are thinking of the Pacific family today, especially Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, as Tropical Cyclone Harold moves through the region.
He says Australia is with the Pacific.
Morrison adds they will continue to support their friends as they recover from this disaster and as we battle coronavirus together.
Thinking of our Pacific family today, especially Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, as Tropical Cyclone Harold moves through the region. Australia is with you. We will continue to support our friends as they recover from this disaster and as we battle coronavirus together.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 8, 2020
Soldiers assist in clearing debris in areas
Bushmaster vehicles and a number of soldiers and police officers are already on the ground in Waidamudamu in Nausori to clear all the debris in the affected areas.
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete, Infrastructure Minister, Jone Usamate, Minister for Defence, Inia Seruiratu and Army Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto are at the scene.
There are several teams on the ground trying to assist in different areas.
Stay away from incomplete WG Friendship Plaza on McGregor Road
Please stay away from the incomplete WG Friendship Plaza on McGregor Road in Suva.
Fijivillage has received reports that metal and aluminum pipes are flying off the building and landing on the road and neighbouring properties.
We are advising you to stay away from the area.
A WG Friendship spokesperson says they had secured the building area but they do not know what is flying from the building.
He says their workers are now at the site to check the situation.
Tornadoes from TC Harold Affect Nakasi and Nausori
Bhawani Dayal Arya College’s double storey classroom block roof and other houses significantly damaged
Tornadoes associated with Tropical Cyclone Harold have severely affected some houses and buildings in Nakasi and Nausori – it resulted in the roof of Bhawani Dayal School getting ripped off and blown away.
Nadi Weather Office Director, Misaele Funaki says that it is possible that severe tropical cyclones like Harold can spawn tornadoes after people from Vusuya in Nausori also said that their homes were damaged by a tornado at about 3 o’çlock this morning.
We are getting reports that about 7 houses have been damaged in Vusuya, and houses in Nakasi and Bhawani Dayal School have been badly damaged.
15 houses have been badly damaged by strong winds and rain in Waidamudamu, Nausori early this morning.
Resident Ashwin Prasad says it seems a tornado blew their roof away at about 4.30am.
He says his family had to take shelter under their tables.
Prasad also says that at least two of his neighbours are injured.
Another resident, Umesh Chand says he has never seen such a situation in Waidamudamu.
He says he was woken up at around 4am because of the heavy rain and strong winds.
He adds that Waidamudamu is flooded and the water level has risen to about 4 feet.
Some areas in Sigatoka badly affected
Temple roof flies away in Nabitu, Sigatoka
[Vatukarsa Village Western, Fiji. Photo: Simeli Cirimaitoga]
Some houses have been badly damaged in Vatukarasa Village in Sigatoka.
The village is full of fallen trees and debris from the strong winds.
[Vatukarsa Village Western, Fiji. Photo: Simeli Cirimaitoga]
A few houses in Nabitu, Sigatoka are partially damaged due to strong winds this morning.
A resident has told Fijivillage that this includes the roof of their temple that has been blown away completely.
Family escapes unharmed after a tree fell on their home earlier today
Vunivau, Labasa resident Roshni Lata is counting her lucky stars after she and her husband escaped injuries when a large tree fell on the roof of her home earlier today.
Lata says the rooftop has sustained some damages but she is grateful that she and her husband are safe.
Meanwhile, another Vunivau resident, Mukesh Lingam says strong wind and heavy rain has eased up from earlier today.
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