Fiji

Fijians flock to evacuation centers due to cylone devastation

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SUVA, Dec 15, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Almost 4,000 people remained in evacuation centers in Fiji on Wednesday, following the damages caused by Cyclone Mick.

Fiji's National Disaster Management Office said 68 evacuation centers were activated around the country as many homes were partially or totally destroyed by the cyclone and others were just unfit to live in.

Two people have been confirmed dead while another two were reported missing.

One boat was missing in Vanua Levu island but it remained unclear how many people were on board after a desperate distress call was made to a resort there.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Sada Reddy, said it will take the government teams a few days to assess the full impact of the cyclone.

Initial reports suggested the agricultural sector has suffered major damage especially to food crops.

This will have short term effect of vegetable shortages and thus increases in prices of vegetables and other food crops.

RBF said the cyclone may have some adverse effects on tourism and agro-based industries.

The full impact on the economy is difficult to assess at this stage but it will have some downside effects.

Banks in Fiji and financial institutions have been called on to assist in the quick recovery of the economy by assisting those affected financially by making temporary adjustments to repayments and to extend credit for replanting and business resumption.

The central bank has called on insurance companies to assess and settle insurance claims quickly.

Meanwhile, all health facilities in the country re-opened for services on Wednesday, after general outpatients and clinics were canceled for Monday and Tuesday.

There are some disruptions at some of the health facilities because of either water or power problems.

Fiji's Ministry of Health attended to three evacuations including the transfer of a pregnant woman from Lau that faced complications.

The Navua Hospital is the worst hit and remains closed because of the need to have it thoroughly cleaned up.

Mud surrounds the hospital compound and the interior of the ground floor.

The Ministry of Health has restricted people from eating or selling frozen food.

Farmers are advised to wear gloves and boots to stop leptospirosis from being contracted.