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Weather experts predict up to six more cyclones this season in South Pacific

Cyclone Jasmine damages homes and crops in Vanuatu

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and other regional agencies are predicting up to six more cyclones before the season finishes at the end of April.

In a tropical cyclone update the agencies say they’re expecting a near normal number of named storms in the region.

There have been four cyclones so far this year, with the most recent, Jasmine, causing significant damage to the southern islands of Vanuatu this week where homes and crops were damaged.

The National Disaster Management Office says so far there are no reports of any casualties in Tafea province.

A spokesman Steven Noel says an assessment team, including police, disaster, weather and agriculture officials, are preparing to go the province later today to get a clearer picture of the destruction.

“There’s only damage from the buildings which is the houses and the crops, otherwise there’s none getting hurt or injured or maybe serious damage especially the people from the community.”

Meanwhile the Meteorological Office warns that seas remain very rough with heavy swells in the southern Vanuatu area.

It says the islands of Aneityum, Tanna, Aniwa and Futuna were most affected by the cyclone’s gale force winds and heavy rainfall.

Mystery Island in Tafea province, which is one of the most visited islands in Vanuatu, lost its two wharves when the Cyclone hit the area yesterday.

A local, Eloi Leye, says people are now trying to build a temporary wharf to accommodate the dinghies from the cruise ships which regularly call there.

Mr Leye says the next cruise visit is scheduled for next week.

He says efforts are also being made to clear the island’s airport, which also serves the main island of Aneityum.

Mr Leye also says the stalls set up on the island for people to sell their artefacts to the tourists have been wrecked.



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