One dead, one missing in cyclone-battered Fiji

By Agence France Presse

Tropical Cyclone Sarai was moving slowly away from Fiji Sunday, leaving one person dead and another missing along with more than 2,500 people in emergency shelters.


The cyclone damaged houses, crops and trees, cut power and forced the cancellation of several international flights, stranding holidaymakers visiting the island nation that's a major tourist draw.

National Disaster Management Office director Vasiti Soko said an 18-year-old student drowned off the island of Kadavu.

"The man is believed to have been swept away by strong currents when he was swimming with his friends," she said.

The search was also continuing for another man caught by floodwaters, while one person was in intensive care in hospital after being hit by a falling tree.

Soko said there were 2,538 people staying in 70 evacuation centres as of Sunday morning.

Electricity had been restored to 80 percent of the capital Suva but power company Energy Fiji Limited said it could take a week to restore supplies to all areas of the main island of Viti Levu.

Sarai, maintaining winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour (93mph), was tracking east and was expected to pass over Tonga on New Year's Eve.