The economic impact of Cyclone Evan on Samoa will be at least as bad as the deadly tsunami that caused widespread damage in 2009, the International Monetary Fund says.
The IMF's resident advisor on the Pacific, Yangzheg Yang, said it will take a long time for the country to recover and restore vital infrastructure.
"It's quite devastating, a lot of houses have been blown away, collapsed roads and bridges washed away. Water and electricity facilities are all badly damaged, so it's pretty horrific," Mr Yang told .
He said there was also considerable damage to agricultural crops which could cause food shortages.
Tourism operators have also been badly affected.
"The impact of this cyclone is probably just as great, if not greater, than the damage caused by the tsunami in 2009," he said.
Mr Yang said the cyclone's impact on Fiji was less severe than initially feared.
© ABC 2012
17:37 EDT Much of western New South Wales has begun a heat wave, reaching at least five degrees above average for at least five days, averaging a maximum of 35 degrees or more.