Updated: 03/14/2014 14:04 | By Agence France-Presse

Three dead, six missing after cyclone hits Vanuatu

Three people were killed and six missing after a cyclone hit the Pacific island of Vanuatu, officials said Friday.


Tropical Cyclone Lusi swept across the country this week and damage assessments were still coming in from remote areas, the National Disaster Management Office said.

Office director Shadrack Welegtabit said three deaths had been confirmed and a search was underway for six missing women and children.

"A search and rescue team was deployed yesterday and we are now waiting to hear from them," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the cyclone had caused widespread flooding and damaged crops.

Lusi has since travelled south and was losing intensity on Friday as it approached New Zealand.

It is expected to be downgraded to a severe storm early Saturday but New Zealand authorities were still warning some residents to prepare for strong winds, heavy rains and possible flooding.

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