One Missing, Another Dead After Cyclone Hits New Caledonia

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Cyclone Freda causes widespread power outages, flooding

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 3, 2013) – One man has been killed and another is missing after Cyclone Freda hit New Caledonia, officials in the French Pacific territory say.

Wind gusts had weakened to 90 kilometers per hour as it moved towards the east Caledonian island of Mare, after hitting the Solomon Islands earlier this week as a destructive storm with gusts reaching 231 kilometers per hour.

High commissioner Albert Dupuy told reporters in the capital Noumea that one man had drowned in high seas whipped up by Freda, while an 18-year-old man was missing after attempting to cross a swollen river.

Some 3,200 people were without power, Mr. Dupuy said, adding that multiple roadways were blocked by landslides or flooding.

The storm was moving eastward at 30 kilometers per hour and set to leave the New Caledonian region over the next 48 hours, officials said.

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