Monday, January 12, 2009

Emergency declared in Fiji as six feared dead in severe storm, floods

Agence France Presse: A state of emergency has been declared in Fiji as severe storms brought widespread flooding with at least six people feared dead. Thousands were evacuated from their homes and those living in low-lying areas were advised to move to higher ground as rivers burst their banks. Tourists in the popular resort area of Denarau Island were trapped after the only road to the airport was inundated.

Interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama declared the state of emergency on the recommendation of the National Disaster Management Office (Dismac), Interim National Security Minister Epeli Ganilau said. "It is basically to safeguard lives and property. We want to prevent criminal elements from taking advantage of the flood hit areas," Ganilau told the Fijilive website.

…Dismac officials said more than 2,340 people were sheltering in evacuation centres on Sunday evening. The Fiji Meteorological Service warned of further heavy rain and strong winds for the northern parts of the country.

No comments: