Apia slammed as cyclone hits Samoa and stalls
Two children are believed to be the first fatalities of a savage cyclone that has hit Samoa.
The small but powerful Cyclone Evan has battered the country, inflicting a severe ocean surge on the capital Apia. The city has been largely evacuated due to massive damage.
The Disaster Management Office (DMO) has not confirmed the deaths, but as is traditional in Samoa, families have posted announcement on state radio, advising of the family tragedy.
The children are believed to have drowned near Apia Park, a low lying area in the eastern side of the capital.
Earlier this evening DMO reported that a feared ocean surge was hitting the northern coast of Samoa, including Apia.
"The storm surge is hitting us now, it is really high, 12 to 15 feet (3.6 to 4.5 metres)," a DMO official said on a failing phone line.
Phones and electricity are out across much of the country and tourists in the Aleipata area of south eastern Samoa have fled the coast.