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Cyclone flattens homes in Samoa; three reported dead

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People stand on a destroyed bridge in Samoa's capital Apia, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after cyclone Evan ripped through the South Pacific island nation. The powerful cyclone flattened homes and uprooted trees with winds of up to 165 kilometers per hour. Phone lines, Internet service and electricity were down across the country, and the airport was closed.— Photo by AP

SYDNEY: A powerful cyclone has ripped through the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, flattening homes, uprooting trees and flooding streets.    

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said on Friday that there were reports three people had been killed by Cyclone Evan, but police in Samoa have not confirmed that yet.

The storm lashed Samoa with winds of up to 165 kilometers per hour. Samoa Observer editor Keni Lesa says the cyclone caused serious damage in the capital Apia, flinging cars into trees and causing flash floods. Phone lines, Internet service and electricity were down across the country, and the airport was closed.

Lesa says the village of Lelata just outside Apia looks ''like a tsunami has struck'' it.

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