Fiji PM Says 'Stay Safe' As Cyclone Severity Upgraded And More Flights Cancelled
More than 2000 people have been evacuated as Cyclone Sarai hit Fiji with more ferocity than forecast and is expected to reach the mainland on Saturday afternoon.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fijians and visitors must exercise safety and take necessary precautions as weather conditions are forecast to intensify on Saturday.
"Fijians living in low-lying areas should be advised to start moving to higher grounds for their own safety. It is better to be prepared," he said.
The Fiji Meteorological Service says Tropical Cyclone Sarai is now a Category two storm as it moves down Fiji's west coast bringing wind gusts as high as 110 kilometres an hour.
Cyclone Sarai is now heading south-east, passing Fiji's main island Viti Levu, before heading towards Tonga's Ha'apai island group.
The National Disaster Managment Office is monitoring the cyclone and tweeting regularly about evacuation centres in operation.
Qantas and Jetstar have cancelled all flights in and out of Nadi, while Virgin is still operating some routes. Fiji Airways has cancelled most of its flights to and from the Pacific nation.
Fiji is a very popular holiday destination among Australians during the holiday season.
Travellers to, from and within Fiji should contact airlines or shipping companies to confirm details as there have been countless cancellations.
As of Friday, the Australian government Smartraveller had not increased its travel warning.
"Anticipate high winds, flooding, and storm surges. Stay in touch with friends and family, monitor local media for updates, and follow the advice of local authorities," the website advised.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted by 10 daily, requesting the number of Australians currently registered as being in Fiji.
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