Several Injuries Reported In New Caledonia Following Cyclone Cook

People have been allowed out to assess damage as storm moves south-east

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 11, 2017) – Four people are reported to have been injured in New Caledonia after Cyclone Cook crossed the main island overnight.

The storm struck as a category 3 system when it hit yesterday but has since weakened while moving away to the south.

The alert has been lifted and people are allowed out of their homes and shelters to assess the damage. Firefighters are now out clearing debris from the island's roads.

Power has been restored to some towns in the north.

Cyclone Cook crossed the main island between Houailou and Moindou.

The storm's centre passed about 100 kilometres to the west of Noumea, sparing the territory's most densely populated areas.

Meteo France said in Thio, on the east coast, a total of 350mm of rain fell in 24 hours.

The south of the main island was still being lashed by the storm and people are advised to be cautious.

Thousands of homes lost power when the cyclone made landfall yesterday.

Meteo New Caledonia forecaster Virgil Cavarero told Reuters the category three cyclone had been predicted to hit as a category four, which would have been even more devastating.Heavy rain, gales and high seas around New Caledonia will gradually ease tomorrow as it moves away.

Mixed reports from Vanuatu

Meanwhile, Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office said it now has a picture of the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Cook when it hit the country.

Cook brought widespread flooding to the archipelago at the weekend.

The Department's planning and research officer, Peter Korisa, said there had been been some damage to crops, parts of Efate were flooded and a number people were forced to seek emergency shelter.

Mr Korisa said it was a mixed picture for disaster officials.

He said there was extensive flooding on Efate and as a result the island has WASH or water, sanitation and health issues.

He says other islands, such as Epi, appeared to have experienced a lot more wind and this caused damage, mostly to root crops, but also banana and papaya.

Mr Korisa said there were not large numbers in emergency shelters and on Monday six of the nine sites on Efate were shut down and the people taken back to their homes.

He says on other islands people used the shelters on Sunday but returned to their homes during Monday.

Radio New Zealand International
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