Fiji - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 3

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref. OCHA/GVA - 99/0006
Fiji - Floods
OCHA Situation Report No. 3
25 January 1999

General Situation

1. Since the morning of 19 January, extremely heavy rain and squally thunderstorms have been experienced throughout the country, with disastrous effects in the western part of Viti Levu.

Water levels in areas of Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki increased dramatically within hours to cause flash floods, hitting the community and authorities without warning.

2. The Disaster Management Programme, South Pacific Office (DMP-SPO) has informed that, according to the National Disaster Controller and Acting Permanent Secretary for Regional Development and Multi Ethnic Affairs, the recent flooding in the western part of Viti Levu has caused destruction to infrastructure, livestock and crops. Six people were killed and six are still missing. On 22 January the Cabinet endorsed the Emergency Committee's advice and recommendation, and declared a natural disaster in the aftermath of this flooding.

Damage by Sector


3. Damage to sugar crops, which have already suffered from the recent drought through destruction of planting materials and standing crops, may have a destabilizing effect on this important economic sector. Preliminary reports from the Ministry of Agriculture estimated the crop damage in the Western Division at FJD 1.4 million.


4. Although the main roads in the flooded area were not badly affected and are now passable, some roads and bridges were extensively damaged and are still closed to the traffic.

5. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities estimates the damage to infrastructure, including sewerage, roads, machinery and building, at FJD 1,334,500 in the districts of Lautoka, Nadi, Sigatoka, Tavua, Ba and Rakiraki. Damage to the buildings of the Lautoka and Ba hospitals is estimated at FJD 30,000. The damage suffered by the schools in Ba, Tavua and Nadi Districts alone is estimated at FJD 275,000. Damage to the power supply amounts to FJD 525,000.


6. Damage to telephone lines and equipment caused serious disruptions of major communications systems. Approximately 10 percent of domestic lines, out of the 28,565, have been affected in the Western Division. The total damage to communications systems amounts to approximately FJD 326,000.

Water Supply

7. While some water supply systems in the Western Division have returned to normal, some affected areas in Ba and Nadi are still without water. The damage is estimated at FJD 350,000.

National Response

8. On 19 January, the Government instructed the Divisional and District's Disaster Management Centre (DISMAC) teams in the affected areas to coordinate activities and assist the affected people. Two Emergency Committee meetings were convened on 20 January, and another meeting on 21 January, to discuss reports submitted by the Divisional DISMAC.

9. 21 evacuation centres have been opened in the districts of Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Tavua, and Rakiraki. 1,772 flood victims are being accommodated in these centres.

10. On 22 January, the Government declared a natural disaster for a period of 30 days. The declaration allows the Government to mobilize all needed resources for the provision of emergency relief and to receive international assistance.

Requirements for Relief Assistance

11. Because of the considerable loss of earnings, due to the drought and now exacerbated by the flood and the fact that the affected families have lost all their household belongings, there is a need for replacement of household items, such as bedding, clothes, and cooking/eating utensils. Another priority area is to provide immediate assistance to schools to enable them to start the school year without too much disruption.

12. The most pressing immediate requirements, identified by the Government, are medical supplies, food rations, clothing (for adults and children), bedding (mattresses, blankets, pillows and mattress covers), tarpaulins, and water tanks. A detailed list can be made available by OCHA upon request.

13. For rehabilitation purposes, the Government of Fiji has asked for the provision of housing materials, pontoons, educational materials, seedlings, fertilizers (urea and NPK), and tarpaulins.

International Response

14. Australia and New Zealand have pledged FJD 250,000 (USD 127,551) and FJD 50,000 (USD 25,510) respectively.

15. OCHA has allocated an Emergency Cash Grant of USD 30,000 for the local purchase of relief items.

16. OCHA is prepared to serve as channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. Funds should be transferred to OCHA account No. CO-590.160.1, Swift code: SBCOCHGG12A at the UBS AG, P.O. Box 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: OCHA - Fiji - Floods. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

17. Donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated below, on relief missions /pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item.

18. This situation report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone number: +41-22-917 12 34
In case of emergency: Tel: +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack / Mr. R. Müller / Ms. M. Kondo, OCHA Disaster Response Branch,
direct Tel. +41-22-917-21 44/ 31 31/19 97

Press to contact: Ms. E. Ponomareva, direct Tel. +41-22-917-23 36
Telex: 414242 OCHA CH
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit