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Aid groups prepare for Fiji cyclone

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/04/2016

Aid groups are preparing to swing back into action as another tropical cyclone is on track to hit Fiji just weeks after Cyclone Winston battered the country, killing 44 people.

The category three storm, named Cyclone Zena, is moving southeast from Vanuatu to Fiji and is expected to bring more flooding and strong winds to the tiny island nation which has experienced torrential rains over the past two days.

One person has already been reportedly killed in the lead up to the storm according to local media, while another is missing.

Oxfam say although the cyclone will not be as damaging as Cyclone Winston, which was category five, it is still dangerous.

"The flood waters and threat posed by Cyclone Zena's gale force winds are the last thing Fijians recovering from Cyclone Winston need," Oxfam country director Dolores Devesi said on Wednesday.

So far more than 3500 people have been evacuated in affected regions while schools are closed following upgraded warnings about heavy rain and strong winds which have upped expectations of more severe flooding.

The Fiji Meteorological Service issued a special alert on Wednesday morning saying the cyclone had winds of 95km/h and was intensifying as it approached the western city of Nadi.

The cyclone is expected to sit 170km south-southeast of Nadi on Thursday morning.

Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways have cancelled services to the country.

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