Tropical Storm Batters Tiny Futuna
NOUMEA, New Caledonia (AP) _ Tropical storm Raja, with winds of up to 80 mph, battered the French Pacific island territory of Futuna on Saturday, badly damaging buildings and destroying crops, according to reports reaching New Caledonia.
Futuna, about 1,200 miles northeast of New Caledonia, has about 4,500 people.
The storm passed just south of Futuna between midnight and 4 a.m., cutting communications between Futuna and its sister French island Wallis for part of the day. Radio communication later was established to transmit initial damage reports.
Eighty percent of food crops were reported destroyed and most houses, made of light construction with palm-leaf roofs, were seriously damaged or destroyed.
The territorial administration building, police headquarters and the hospital suffered severe damage.
Rescue operations were being planned in New Caledonia.