Residents evacuated, airport closed and power cut off in Tahiti flooding


 Reuters International

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Heavy flooding in French Polynesia has forced many residents to evacuate, cut off power to thousands of homes, and closed Tahiti's international airport.

The French Polynesia High Commission said three people were injured, one seriously, while more than 100 homes were destroyed. Major roads were damaged by landslides.

The floods were most severe on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea.

An Air France flight was diverted to the Cook Islands because the runway was flooded, and international flights were cancelled.

"The weather forecast predicts rain until Tuesday," Frederic Poisot, cabinet director of the French Polynesia Haut Commissariat told Reuters, adding authorities had not decided when to re-open the airport.

Poisot said more than 6,000 households had been without electricity, although power now been restored to most of them.

He said the army was helping clear roads and repair damaged facilities.

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia with a population of around 276,000 and 180,000 tourist arrivals a year.

(Reporting by Cecile Lefort; Editing by Eric Meijer)

Reuters

 Reuters International