Saturday, 10 January 2009 7:19 AM

Flooding in Fiji's Main Island

The North West of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, is experiencing prolonged heavy rain resulting in heavy flooding which had led to the shutting down of many areas including Nadi which is home to the country's main international airport and the loss of one life.

According to Fiji Times Online, flood waters rose quickly on Thursday and 'forced shoppers in Rakiraki Town, Vaileka, to swim to dry land as sheets of rain pelted the Western Division yesterday'.
According to Fjilive, 'National Disaster Management Office director Joeli Cawaki said flooding is expected to worsen at high tide and has advised people to move to higher grounds if they live in flood prone areas' and confirmed that 'Nadi, Ba and Rakiraki towns are the worst affected by flooding'.

"The bridge at Waimalika, Nadi has also been closed to all the traffic while the Nadi back road and Namotomoto roads are also closed due to flooding. The upper Naitasiri areas have also been affected by the flooding," he said.

According to Fiji Times Online, evacuation centres are already on standby while the Fiji Red Cross Society 'is on stand-by and observing the situation on the ground and advised people to be prepared'.
According to the report, the Red Cross has advised people to prepare their emergency kits if they are going to be evacuated from their homes which include 'spare clothes, tinned food and other important stuff', 'advised people living in low-lying areas prone to flooding to be ready to move to higher ground', and 'also advised children not to go near swollen rivers or creeks during the rainy season'.

Fiji's Ministry of Education 'has warned all schools around the country to secure their school buildings and other properties in light of the deteriorating weather conditions' and all 'bus services in the Western Division have been halted as a result of flooding and deteriorating road conditions' with Fiji Bus Operators Association president, Pyara Singh, saying that 'they have no choice but to stop services until the weather cleared and floodwaters receded'.

Meanwhile, the flooding claimed the life of a 31 year-old man who tried to swim across the floodwaters but suffered cramps and could not manage to get to safety.

A curfew has also been installed in Nadi town for the 'safety and security of business owners and tourists', which will be from 6pm to 6am with Commissioner Western, Joeli Rokovada, stating that 'having a curfew was the best thing to do given that most people often take advantage of situations like flooding to commit crime', according to Fiji Times Online.

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