Indian Ocean island Mayotte on cyclone alert | 1/2/2014 | Staff
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Hopes rose Sunday on the small French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte, which has been on red alert for the arrival of Cyclone Belna, that a last-minute change of course might limit the damage.

The storm was forecast to make landfall on the island, home to a quarter of a million people, Sunday evening.

Mayotte - Governor - Jean-Francois - Colombet - Forecasts

But Mayotte's governor Jean-Francois Colombet said the latest forecasts from France-Meteo showed the cyclone beginning to veer off to the south, possibly sparing the island its full force.

Officials in the French overseas department had earlier warned inhabitants to stay indoors and "not go out under any circumstances".

Schools - Monday - Part - Emergency - Shelters

Schools were to be closed on Monday, in part because many were being used as emergency shelters for between 10,000 and 15,000 of the islanders most vulnerable to possible damage caused by Belna.

Most people had respected the official advice to stay indoors and off the streets, Colombet told a local newspaper.

Island - Inhabitants - Stock - Drinking - Water

The island's 256,000 inhabitants have also been advised to stock up on drinking water.

After Mayotte, the cyclone was forecast on...
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