A tropical cyclone with winds gusting up to 140 kilometres per hour hit Fiji's main island of Viti Levu, flattening houses, causing flooding and bringing down trees and powerlines, officials say.
Two men were killed when they were electrocuted by fallen powerlines, police said.
Cyclone Gene, a category one storm, crossed the west coast of Viti Levu and is forecast to intensify and move in a south-east direction overnight towards the capital Suva, officials said. The cyclone is expected to intensify further, probably reaching a category two system by late tomorrow, director of Fiji's bureau of meteorology Rajendra Prasad said.
Many Fijians living in coastal villages on the west side of Viti Levu, which is also the country's main tourist centre, have moved to higher ground, with warnings of heavy seas and swells. Officials in the western town of Nadi warned residents not to be outside their homes as the cyclone moves through their area.
People should start taking precautions, preparing with torches, tin foods and so on, director of the National Disaster Centre Jo Rokovada said.
Four people have been killed in a cyclone which battered Fiji, causing major flooding and power cuts. About 30 homes have been destroyed, communications to some areas have been cut and up to 200,000 people are without power. The National Disaster Management Office reports many evacuation centres set up around the country have filled up as people flee rising water levels.
Spokesman Pajiliai Dobui says Cyclone Gene caught many by surprise. We were not really ready for it since the hurricane just developed all of a sudden and then we were caught off balance when it struck, he said.
I'm not sure what our Met office in Nadi would say, this one really followed a pattern which is quite different from the pattern we normally follow. It is quite unique in a way.
De tropische storm Gene is dinsdag over Fiji getrokken. Daarbij zijn twee mensen om het leven gekomen.
Gene is dwars over de eilanden getrokken en zorgde voor windstoten tot 140 kilometer per uur. Huizen raakten beschadigd en elektriciteitsleidingen knapten af. Twee mensen werden geÃ«lektrocuteerd, toen ze in aanraking kwamen met stroomvoerende delen.
Gene is ondertussen uitgegroeid tot een orkaan en onderweg naar New CaledoniÃ«.
De tropische cycloon Gene heeft de eilandengroep Fiji verlaten. In totaal vielen er zes doden. Duizenden mensen werden zonder water gezet en moesten hun huizen verlaten omwille van overstromingen. De cycloon van categorie 2 zorgde voor zware schade aan de infrastructuur van het hoofdeiland Viti Levu.
Meteorologen verwachten dat cycloon Gene groeit en de status van orkaan krijgt. Donderdagochtend wordt Gene in Vanuatu verwacht.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Gene is approaching southern Vanuatu, generating winds of 150 kilometres per hour.
The category four storm is about 60km from the eastern island of Futuna and is moving slowly south-south-west.
Reports from the area say a number of houses on Futuna have already been destroyed.
Earlier this week Gene caused significant damage in Fiji and reportedly claimed seven lives.