Floodwaters and wind rip across Fiji, 2 April 2012. Conditions are set to worsen in Fiji as a tropical cyclone develops. Taner Mallia

By Glenda Kwek and Glenn Jackson
2 April 2012

A tropical cyclone is expected to miss Fiji today but will continue to bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, and damaging swells to the flooded South Pacific nation, a meteorologist says, as the Fijian government lifted its ban on flights carrying inbound passengers.

At least three people have died and about 8000 Fijians have been relocated to emergency evacuation centres, Agence France-Presse reported.

Tourists were also stranded after a tropical storm inundated Fiji, flooding properties and roads. […]

International Federation of Red Cross shelter and disaster management delegate David O'Meara told smh.com.au on the phone from Fiji's capital Suva.

"The flooding comes on top of the earlier flooding in January and is more extensive. … It's all through the west and up in the north."

Fiji has "had a bashing", the country's permanent secretary of information Sharon Smith Johns said, with water and power supplies cut in most areas and many roads closed.

"Regardless of whether we get a cyclone or not, we could get hit with more rain and more flooding," she told Radio Australia. […]

Monsoonal rains were expected to continue in Fiji until the middle of this week, Weatherzone senior meteorologist Josh Fisher said in a statement this afternoon. […]

"There are flood warnings in place for all major rivers, streams and low lying areas of [Fiji's largest island] Viti Levu. Already, more than 230 millimetres of rain falling Nadi during the past 48 hours. Winds could gust up to 110km/h today as the system continue to strengthen."

A state of natural disaster was declared for western Fiji following flooding in which at least three people have died and 4000 have been forced into evacuation centres. […]

Power has been cut on Viti Levu. […]

"This is very bad for Fiji, it will take a long time to fix up and get the tourists back," taxi driver Mohammad Yakub told AFP as he surveyed the devastation.

He said his family was surviving on tinned food as all the crops in his small plot of land had been destroyed and his local market was unlikely to reopen for weeks.

"I don't know what people will eat. They will have to bring food in soon," he said. […]

Tourists flee in frantic scenes as devastating floods hit Fiji

This photo from an Sydney Morning Herald reader shows floodwaters rushing down a local road in Fiji, 2 April 2012. Derrick Robinson

2 April 2012 NADI (Pacific Scoop/Pacific Media Watch) – "Never a dull moment – we make waiting fun,” says a Vodafone billboard promoting its latest products in Fiji’s Nadi international airport. “Power to you.”

But for hundreds of tourists and Fiji Islanders waiting today to get on board five cancelled flights to Australia, New Zealand and beyond, there was little fun.

People told stories of anguish over ruined tropical holidays of a lifetime, ripoffs in adversity and frustration.

A large crowd gathered in the airport to forget the weather and watch the Tokyo rugby sevens competition but they were disappointed to see Samoa pip Fiji 24-21 in the quarterfinals.

After four days of torrential rain across the Western Division – “this is the top flooding I have seen in my lifetime,” said taxi driver Pradesh “Tambi” Kumar – Fiji Islanders are suffering.

Local newspaper, online and radio reports have cited at least two deaths and five people were reported missing as floodwaters continued to wreak havoc as well as grounding most international flights.

Air New Zealand cancelled scheduled Nadi flights at the weekend and the Fiji government asked airlines to stop bringing in any more visitors until the weather stabilised.

From Sigatoka to Rakiraki, emergency services were stretched to the limit as the government declared a state of emergency in the Western Division.

More than 60 evacuation centres were set up and more than 8000 people were sheltering from the floods, rain and wind, the state-owned Fiji Broadcasting Television reported. […]

Neither of the two daily newspapers, Fiji Sun and Fiji Times, could be delivered to the Western Division. One sales assistant at Nadi airport said: “We haven’t been able to get the papers for four days now.”

Both the Sun and the Times carried big disaster wrap-around editions. “Flood shock,” said the Sun with a front page picture of Namaka residents using a cabin cruiser to ferry people around as cars lay submerged.

“The ‘worst’,” said the Fiji Times in a banner headline. “Rain, rising floodwaters wreak havoc.”

The National Weather Forecasting Centre has warned that weather conditions were expected to worsen. […]

Record flooding halts flights and newspapers


  1. Paul said...

    The worst flood in 40 years one Fijian said who lives close to Nadi.  


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