Fiji imposed a nationwide curfew on Thursday after urging people near the coast to move to higher lands as the island nation braced for a major cyclone.
Cyclone Yasa was expected to hit the two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu on Thursday or early Friday. Authorities imposed a nighttime curfew and declared a state of natural disaster.
The National Disaster Office has warned that the cyclone could bring waves of up to 16 meters (52 feet) in some places and sustained winds of up to 250 km / h (155 mph), with gusts reaching 350 km / h (217 mph).
In the capital, Suva, many residents were suffering from power cuts.
Michael Cheer, owner of Samabula pastry shop, carried cakes in his car so he could take them home and put them in a cooler, rather than driving them across the island to be delivered to another town.
“It’s going to be really tough. Today is the day of childbirth, and I was supposed to go to Nadi, but I can’t go west, ”Cheer said. “The power is off. Over 100 cakes could be ruined. “
Many had memories of Cyclone Winston, which struck in 2016 and killed more than 40 people. Stephanie Brown and her family were busy boarding their home in preparation, saying it’s something they do regularly for cyclones.
“It’s used to, but we never know,” Brown said. “The storm might turn around and hit us like Winston.”
Akshay Kumar, co-owner of Grillenium Authentic Food House, said Winston was bad and he expected another strong storm.
“This will affect the business of the food industry tremendously,” Kumar said. “People are not walking around. They are preparing for the cyclone. “
Located about a third of the distance between New Zealand and Hawaii, Fiji has a population of approximately 930,000.