Winds whip through palm trees in the fishing village of Mahebourg in Mauritius – Copyright AFP Sam Yeh
Mauritius was battening down the hatches on Monday as an intense tropical cyclone moved closer, with flights cancelled and normal life at a standstill in the Indian Ocean island nation.
No government services were operating, while shops, banks and petrol stations were shut and public transport halted, leaving streets largely deserted, according to an AFP correspondent.
Images from the remote paradise island showed waves crashing to the shore and the wind whipping through palm trees.
“Cyclone Freddy is an extremely strong cyclone which is a direct threat” to the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Saint-Brandon, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said.