By NETANI RIKA
RESIDENTS of a number of remote Vanuatu communities have battened down as Tropical Cyclone Hola bears down on the South Pacific republic.
The provinces of Sanma, Penama, Malampa and Shefa have been warned to expect winds of up to 995 kilometres per hour from the Category Two storm.
Parts of Vanuatu and New Caledonia will be affected by TC Hola.
Here is the warning from Vanuatu Meteorological Services:
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number 5 for SANMA, PENAMA, MALAMPA and SHEFA province issued by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, Port Vila at 3:27pm VUT Wednesday 7 March 2018.
At 2:00pm local time today, Tropical Cyclone HOLA [984hPa] Category 2 was located at 16.1 degrees South 167.4 degrees East. This is about 55 KM northwest of Lamap and 75 km west northwest of Ambrym
In the past 3 hours, Tropical Cyclone HOLA was moving in a west northwest direction at 15 kmph (eight knots).
Sustained winds close to the centre are estimated at 95 kmph (50 knots).
Damaging gale force winds of 75 kmph (40 knots) are expected to continue to affect SANMA, PENAMA, MALAMPA and SHEFA provinces today and in the next 12 to 24 hours.
Destructive storm force winds of 110 kmph ( 60 Knots), gusting to 160 kmph (85 Knots) are also expected to continue to affect Malekula, Ambrym, Paama, Epi and the Shepherds group.