Trouble In Paradise: Cyclone Evan Hammers Samoa And Fiji (PHOTOS)

A powerful cyclone that left at least four dead as it ripped through Samoa late last week caused flooding and structural damage when it hammered Fiji on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph is reporting.

The worst of Cyclone Evan, the first tropical cyclone of the season in the South Pacific, seems to have passed, but the storm left a path of destruction as it made its way through Wallis and Futuna, Tonga, American Samoa, Samoa and Fiji.

Fijian authorities scrambled to evacuate more than 8,000 residents and tourists in low-lying areas on Sunday, and airlines suspended flights in and out of the country. Two ships ran aground near the entrance to Suva Harbour as 160 mile per hour winds hammered the Fijian capital.

The storm is said to be the worst cyclone to hit the island in 20 years. It caused flooding, structural damage and downed power lines, but so far there have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries in Fiji.

Four deaths have been confirmed from Samoa, where 10 people remain missing and thousands of people have been left homeless.

To see more of the damage in Samoa and Fiji, click through the gallery below.


Overseas France: Or Where You Can Find France Outside Of France

The days of colonial empires may be long over, though the United States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and Denmark continue each to administer a smattering of overseas territories.

Among these, France has arguably the most interesting and wide-ranging set of territories. Overseas France includes tiny St. Pierre and Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland (population around 6,000), the Caribbean overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the smaller Caribbean “overseas collectivities” of St. Martin and St. Barts, the South American overseas department of French Guiana, the Indian Ocean overseas departments of Réunion and Mayotte, and French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis & Futuna in the South Pacific.

Officially, overseas France is divided into “overseas departments” (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Réunion), “overseas collectivities” (French Polynesia, St. Barts, St. Martin, St. Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna), and New Caledonia, which has a special status unto itself.

There are also two uninhabited French territories – a vast, noncontiguous territory with the grand name of Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, inhabited only by researchers, and, most curious of all, the uninhabited island of Clipperton, which sits off Mexico and is administered directly by the Minister of Overseas France.

Tourism is a huge economic driver in many of these territories. St. Martin, St. Barts, and French Polynesia are particularly well known to Americans. Francophone tourists are also familiar with the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, New Caledonia, and Réunion.


[Flickr image via Rayced]