Chatham Islands residents braced for battering from Cyclone Pam

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Residents of the Chatham Islands are braced for a battering from Cyclone Pam,  winds from 110km which could reach up to 135km have already hit the area.

Chatham Islands Mayor, Alfred Preece says, “Power outages and reports of damaged homes have been flooding in, all schools have been closed and the Chatham Island local council has advised their residents to stay home. Three main roads on the island have been closed including Owenga Road until further notice.”

Mr Preece says, “despite the difficulties the resilient Chatham community is in high spirits.”

Meanwhile power has returned to homes in the Gisborne region.Some roads remain closed after the tail end of cyclone Pam swept through.

Residents who evacuated their homes yesterday and found refuge at a nearby marae at Hinerupe had now returned to their homes.

Mayor of Gisborne Meng foon says “We are lucky we didn’t feel the full destruction of tropical cyclone Pam, with no flood and no damaged homes. East Cape road still remains closed but we have officers out on the ground keeping an eye on it. ”

Many of the coastal roads are covered with tree brunches and debris, but Fulton Hogan Civil Construction and road maintenance are on the scene now.

In the pacific The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) are continuing aid flights from cyclone ravaged Vanuatu today with a Boeing 757 and C-130 Hercules aircraft leaving this morning. Last night, 89 kiwis were returned home aboard two C-130 Hercules.