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Six people missing after Tropical Cyclone Lusi hits Vanuatu

Friday March 14, 2014 - 20:20 EDT
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Search teams are still looking for six missing women and children on Santo Island. - ABC licensed

Disaster officials in Vanuatu say the death toll could rise as they establish the full extent of damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Lusi.

Three people have been killed and one person has been seriously injured.

A search is underway for six people, including three children, who are listed as missing following a landslide on Santo Island.

Shadrack Welegtabit, the directorof Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office, told that a search and rescue team has arrived on the island.

"A search and rescue team was deployed yesterday and we are now waiting to hear from them," he said.

"They are supposed to be on site and confirm to us where and how the people gone missing."

Damage assessment

Disaster officials have been conducting aerial surveillance in remote parts of the country to assess the damage.

Mr Welegtabit says some people from an area of the Central Islands are sheltering in an evacuation centre.

He says disaster officials will also determine what assistance those affected by the cyclone will need and whether water supply is a problem.

"We are still getting the initial damage assessment done," Mr Welegtabit said.

"We are still collecting a lot of information."

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the cyclone has caused widespread flooding and damaged crops.

Lusi has since travelled south and was losing intensity on Friday as it approached New Zealand.

It is expected to be downgraded to a severe storm early Saturday but New Zealand authorities were still warning some residents to prepare for strong winds, heavy rains and possible flooding.



© ABC 2014

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