Fiji: Tropical Cyclone Sarai - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRFJ003

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On the 12 December, a tropical depression formed over the south-eastern part of Vanuatu approaching the Fiji group from the North West. It had picked up momentum over the last 48 hours and has developed into a Category 2 cyclone and was named Tropical Cyclone (TC) Sarai. It is projected to reach the Mamanucas and the Yasawa group on 26 December and also to increase intensity within that time period.

The Fiji Meteorological Service office and National Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC) have issued a warning to all mariners, and people living along the coastal areas and rivers to move to higher ground in case of a storm surge or flood. Winds of up to 180-195km/h are expected with heavy rain and thunderstorms. Strong winds are expected to bring down trees and some structures in its path. Flooding along the low-lying areas near the Ba River and cane belt is expected and landslides are also predicted. People are discouraged from crossing flooded rivers in the course of the disaster. TC Sarai is expected to cut across Viti Levu into Tailevu North reaching the Lomaiviti group in the next 2 days moving on to the Southern Lau group. Please refer to map for areas expected to be affected by the TC Sarai.

The Western part of Viti Levu is currently experiencing heavy rain and thunderstorms. DISMAC has formally announced the opening of 10 Evacuation centres in the Ba province to prepare towards this oncoming disaster. With the devastation of TC Winston and TC Gavin in the Western part of the Fiji Islands, authorities have been vigilant in their issuance of situation reports and warnings to at risk population and the general public.

The latest from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) indicates that 48 evacuation centers have been activated with 1,970 evacuees around the country as of the morning of 28 December. Police will be overseeing all active evacuation centers due to safety and protection reasons and relevant district officers will be monitoring the situation on the ground. One missing person reported from Vunidawa ni Naitasiri where police search and rescue are underway.

The water disruptions have been reported by the population living in Naboro and Navua, which is caused by a blocked inflow due to heavy rain. As of 28 December, TC Sarai is located about 130km west of Kadavu, which is about 200km southwest of Suva. Refer to link here for the current latest media release.

Fiji Meteorological Service also continues to provide update on the situation as the tropical cyclone continues to affect the country on 28 December 2019.

This Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) aims to assist the Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS) to carry out preparedness activities and mobilization of its volunteers and staff for deployment to assist communities in pre-cyclone preparedness and health in emergency. Based on previous outcomes of the above-mentioned cyclones, the progress of the disaster may call for a decision to revise the DREF or launch a separate Emergency Appeal to address any further large-scale effects of TC Sarai.