Cyclone Harold, its strength ranked in the highest category of five, passed over Fiji's south at about midday, levelling homes and snapping communications links in the archipelago, which has adopted curbs on movement to rein in the virus.
Tropical cyclone Harold, which claimed 27 lives when it swept through the Solomon Islands last week, strengthened overnight Sunday as it moved east towards Vanuatu.
The inter-island ferry sailed into a severe storm ignoring weather warnings. While a search of the area found plenty of debris, there was no sighting of any bodies, police superintendent Richard Menapi said.
The MV Taimareho set sail on Thursday night as tropical cyclone Harold bore down on the Solomons, and with weather forecasters warning against any unnecessary voyages.
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The tremors triggered a tsunami alert for several Pacific islands that was subsequently adjusted to cover just Papua New Guinea and the neighbouring Solomon Islands.
Several aftershocks have been felt in the region while a tsunami warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Nauru and other islands in the vicinity.
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