There are several pictures and first-hand reports of the damage caused by Cyclone Cliff in Taveuni on Panda's blog.
I had heard that the people in both Udu and Taveuni were not given warnings on their radios that a cyclone was coming. Here is a report from today's Fiji Times - about what happened in Udu Point area.
Cyclone alert came late, villagers claim
Sunday, April 08, 2007
VILLAGERS in Udu Point on Vanua Levu claim the Meteorology Department only issued a cyclone alert after heavy rain and strong winds had raged through the northern division. The villagers want the weather station to upgrade its system and workers' skills to ensure future warnings are heard hours or days before a cyclone.
Acting director of the department, Alipate Waqaicelua said he would reply to the allegations on Tuesday as he was in Suva. The director of the department, Rajendra Prasad is out of the country.
Wainigadru Village headman Netani Tuwei claims strong winds and heavy rains brought in by Cyclone Cliff started at about 10am on Thursday and villagers did not hear a warning before that. "That morning most of us had our radios turned on. We suspected the weather would change because it started to get dark and cold from 7am.
"And during that time, we did not hear any warnings at all so we didn't prepare ourselves or put up shelters to protect our homes because we never expected a hurricane," Mr Tuwei said.
He said about 9.30am, they started to feel the strong winds and heavy rain in the village and elders advised all women and children to go indoors. "When that started, the river behind the village started to rise and burst the banks, forcing flood waters into village homes. The doors to some houses were forced open by the flood waters. That was when the men ran out of their homes to help the women, children and elderly people onto higher ground," Mr Tuwei said.
Despite the heavy rain and cold weather, he said the villagers had no other choice but to flee to a hill beside the village as flood waters were almost 2 metres high in the village ground.
Mr Tuwei said babies and children were wrapped in blankets and bed sheets and their heads also covered to protect them from the rain. The villagers remained there until 12.30pm when the strong winds and heavy rain eased.
Jone Bakaicake of Vanuaumi Village said men had to carry elderly people across the village to a home that sheltered the villagers from the cyclone. "In the morning we didn't hear of any cyclone warnings over the radio stations although we noticed the weather changing and it was so dark that we had to use torches while carrying elderly people across the village lawn," Mr Bakaicake said.
Orisi Rawaqa of Vunikodi Village at the tip of Udu Point said villagers did not hear any cyclone warning in the morning. "We thought it would only be heavy rain because it was dark but when the wind started to grow stronger, we felt it was a cyclone although there was no warning."