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WORLD NEWS | Residents stranded as cyclone hits Pacific Ocean’s Vanuatu

WORLD NEWS | Residents stranded as cyclone hits Pacific Ocean’s Vanuatu

The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

WELLINGTON, March 1 (AP) – Residents of Vanuatu crouch on the ground Wednesday as a cyclone ravages the Pacific island nation.

Authorities said some areas were without power and many trees and branches had fallen, but it was too early to assess the extent of damage as Hurricane Judy was still wreaking havoc. They said there were no initial reports of major damage or deaths.

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Some people have been moved to evacuation sites as heavy rainfall flooded their homes.

Others cordoned themselves off as authorities issued a red alert in the capital, Port Vila, and some other areas – meaning people should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

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The hurricane forced businesses and schools to close, and airlines canceled flights.

Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office spokeswoman Brenda Williams said Cyclone Judy brought damaging winds of around 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph) with gusts of up to 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph).

Williams said the calmer eye of the tropical cyclone had passed the capital Wednesday morning, and as the tail moved, they began to encounter strong winds again.

She said the central and southern islands were likely to be hit and they were still awaiting damage reports in many places.

Shadrack Welegtabit, a political adviser to the climate change minister, said people had been warned of the approaching cyclone earlier this week and were preparing by stockpiling fresh drinking water and food and strengthening the facades of their homes.

“It’s too early to assess the damage; we’re still in it,” he said. “The other half is coming.”

Vanuatu is located in eastern Australia and northern New Zealand and has a population of about 300,000. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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