Ballarat woman caught in Fijian cyclone

A family holiday in tropical Fiji has turned wild and woolly for a Ballarat woman, who took refuge in her hotel room last night as Cyclone Evan ravaged the island nation.

Stacey Clarke, 21, has been visiting family in Fiji and was ordered to remain inside the room at her resort in the nation’s capital city of Suva.

Cyclone Evan, which was predicted to strengthen to a category 4 storm last night, struck on the west of the island but it’s full effects were already being felt yesterday afternoon in Suva.

“There’s a lot more rain than a Ballarat storm,” Ms Clarke told The Courier.

“We’re in lockdown inside our resort,” she said.

“If we go outside, they say we can’t come back in because they’re no longer liable for what might happen to us.”

Ms Clarke said her Fijian stepfather and locals on the island didn’t seem too concerned with the storm as it approached their home yesterday.

“Everyone is really cruisy about it,” she said.

“All of the tourists here a bit worried, but the locals are really cruisy - they say this happens all the time.”

Ms Clarke said locals told her they were not too worried about the Cyclone, that it “happens all the time” but that they would have to get rid of the coconuts so they didn’t fall everywhere.

“They’ve told us it could last 12 hours,” she said.

“We’ve had about six or seven blackouts already (yesterday afternoon) and they say there’s probably going to be more on the way.”

Despite the apparent national disaster, Ms Clarke said there was little on the local news services in Fiji about the Cyclone in the hours before it struck.

Earlier, four people were killed when Cyclone Evan hit Samoa, leaving a massive trail of destruction.

jordan.oliver@fairfaxmedia.com.au

The Australia government has urged people worried about loved ones in Fiji to contact the Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135.

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