Cyclone strikes Samoa; 3 reported dead

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 (100 miles) 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.