Cyclone has schoolies stranded in Fiji

Fiji ordeal ... Katrina Venticinque (far right) and her friends (from left)  Liv, Brittany and Amy  waiting at Nadi airport.
Fiji ordeal ... Katrina Venticinque (far right) and her friends (from left) Liv, Brittany and Amy waiting at Nadi airport.

Scores of Australian teenagers celebrating schoolies week have been stranded in Fiji as Tropical Cyclone Evan bears down on the small Pacific nation.

Around 500 of the 17- and 18-year-olds have been camped out at Nadi airport in the country's west for hours anxiously waiting for flights home, according to parents and facebook posts by the students.

While many have secured tickets home, others have been told that there are no more seats available on flights leaving the country for the rest of Sunday and will have to wait out the category 4 cyclone, which is expected to hit on Sunday evening and continue into Monday.

The north of Fiji is expected to be the worst affected by Evan, with Fijian authorities predicting winds gusting up to 100 kilometres per hour, flooding in low-lying areas and damaging swells in low-lying coastal areas.

Conditions in the west where the students are waiting are less severe, with heavy winds and thunderstorms forecast.

Greg Venticinque said his daughter Katrina, 18, had just managed to get a seat on one of the last flights back to Australia, but that four of her friends had been told there were no seats left and they would have to sit-out the storm overnight.

"They're going to have to batten down – it's a bit scary for them," he said.

"They don't know where they're going to go. There's not a lot of accommodation left in Nadi."

Mr Venticinque said that his daughter was among about 200 students who had been evacuated from Mana Island off Fiji's west coast over the last two days and had then crammed into hotel rooms in Nadi.

Another 500 students from nearby Planation Resort were also evacuated around the same time, he said.

A number of parents have complained on the Facebook page travel company Unleashed – which organised many of this year's schoolies trips to Fiji – that students had been forced to pay for their own accommodation in Nadi and were consequently unable to afford food.

"My girl has not been able to eat today after spending all her money on new hotel [which doesn't supply meals] and transport," one concerned mother said.

"So glad I can finally call her to find this out and send her more money. She is really disappointed as they were in the first lot of people to apply to leave Mana island but they seemed to work backwards off the list so they were left behind."

Unleashed has so far declined to comment to Fairfax Media but is posting updates on its facebook page.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is advising concerned parents to contact the consular help line on 1 300 555 135 (or +61 2 6261 3305 if outside Australia).

This story Cyclone has schoolies stranded in Fiji first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.