The Government of Fiji has declared a national disaster in the western division of Fiji following the extremely heavy rains and thunderstorms since 19 January that have caused widespread damage to Viti Levu.
Roads and bridges, public utilities such as sewerage, buildings and machinery, schools, hospitals and power supplies have all been severely damaged in the disaster area. Some areas are still without water supplies. Sugar crops, the mainstay of the Fiji economy, have been badly affected. Six people are confirmed dead while a further six are reported as missing at sea.
Australia will contribute $200,000 for relief and rehabilitation activities, including the provision of kits for school children to replace text books, stationery and other items for families who lost all their possessions in the floods. Funds will also be earmarked for basic health needs such as medicines and repairs to hospitals and health clinics.
The funds will be provided from the emergency relief budget managed by AusAID, the Australian Government's overseas aid agency.
Media contacts: Geoff Leach (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500
Matt Francis (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 / 0417 683 126
Media releases and speeches are available from AusAID via the Internet. <http://www.ausaid.gov.au>