MOST homes on the island of Yasawa-i-Rara lost their roofs before midday yesterday.
This, according to villager Laisa Tunalau.
Located on the northern tip of the Yasawa chain, Cyclone Evan's trek through the Fiji Group brought it closest to Yasawa-i-Rara.
About 10.30am the weather office reported the island was being battered by wind of up to 130 kilometres an hour.
The intensity of the wind at the height of the cyclone i not known yet.
Speaking to this newspaper at 10am yesterday, Ms Tunalu said strong wind stripped roofing iron off structures and homes.
Buildings without cover include the village church and the church minister's home.
She said the strong winds also brought with it swells that forced those living along the coast to relocate inland.
"The winds are very damaging and we are worried," she said.
"All those residing near the coast have been relocated to houses in the middle of the village because of the rise in sea level especially during high tides.
"Most houses are without roofing iron due to the strong winds and we are worried about the safety of the villagers."
All attempts to contact Ms Tunalau after 11am failed as the strength of wind intensified and communication with both the Yasawa and Mamanuca groups was lost.