Cyclone Ita Hits PNG’s Milne Bay Province Islands

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No casualties reported despite heavy rain, flooding, power outages

By Konopa Kana

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 11, 2014) – Cyclone Ita is 260 miles from Port Moresby but the aftermath of the tropical cyclone is causing unusually heavy rains in the National Capital District yesterday.

Milne Bay Province is also affected after the storm ripped through on Wednesday afternoon. All schools have been closed and public servants told to stop work as heavy rain continues.

Acting administrator Michael Kape advised the people to stay indoors to avoid flooding, gale winds and storm surge as Cyclone Ita was upgraded to a category four storm.

Mr Kape said the Islands worst hit are Rossell, Sudest, Misima, Samarai, Woodlark and Suau coast with unconfirmed reports of casualties. He said that Alotau mainland has experienced strong winds, flood and heavy rains.

Provincial disaster coordinator Eric Balaria confirmed heavy rains, flooding and power black outages as the cyclone made landfall in Alotau on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Balaria said the township was hit by heavy rains and strong winds that tossed over power pole and causing floods that destroyed food gardens and a couple of houses. "As of yesterday airlines and boats have to restricted to travel into the province until further notice," Mr Balaria said.

He said the disaster office is monitoring the situation and collecting data but so far there are no reports of casualties in the province. Mr Balaria said power has been restored as of yesterday to the main business area in the town but most of the residential areas are still experiencing blackouts.

A resident in Alotau told the Post-Courier that a tree fell and uprooted his house but his family is safe.

The National Weather Service gave a cyclone warning update of severe tropical cyclone and people along the coastal areas in Milne Bay, Central, Gulf and Western province are advice to stay away from the coast waters until further notice.

According to the weather service the central pressure of cyclone Ita is 958 hectopascals and is about 170km south of Amazon Bay and 260km southeast of Port Moresby.

The storm is packing winds of up to 13km an hour, the weather service office said.

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