This is the first OCHA Flash Update on Category 2 TC Zena near Fiji.
Less than two months after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a path of destruction across Fiji, the country is bracing for the impact of another Cyclone. This morning, Category 2 Tropical Cyclone Zena was located about 740 km west of Nadi. Close to its centre, the cyclone is estimated to have average winds of 95km/hr and gusts to 130km/hr. The cyclone is currently moving east-southeast at 34km/hr and is still intensifying. On this track, it is predicted to pass south of the main island of Viti Levu in the early hours of Thursday morning, passing directly over the island of Kadavu. While the cyclone is not expected to pass directly over Suva, it is currently expected to bring sustained winds of 100 km/ph with squalls to 150 kph from the early hours of Thursday morning onwards. These winds may affect weak structures across the greater Suva urban area and may take down trees not already brought down in TC Winston.
Of even greater concern is the dangerously heavy rainfall associated with the cyclone. Much of the country is predicted to receive 200mm of rainfall in the next 24 hours. This presents a significant flood risk, particularly along rivers and the southern coast of Viti Levu. Many rivers in Fiji’s west and south are already flooded after heavy rainfall over recent days and this system will only compound the flood danger. Soil is saturated and any new rain will run off immediately, further adding to the existing inundation that has already closed roads and prompted warnings for the public to stay away from waterways.
TC Zena and associated rainfall will add to the distress being experienced by thousands of people across Fiji who remain in transitional shelter since TC Winston hit in February. In response to the recent days’ events, a total of 79 evacuation centres have been opened with 3,592 people taking shelter there. All schools have been closed for the day. The Fiji Met Service and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) are sending out regular updates and the ongoing State of Natural Disaster means the NDMO still has its coordination system activated. A Pacific Humanitarian Team Meeting will be convened this afternoon by OCHA to discuss the situation.
The next Flash Update will be issued tomorrow.
For further information, please contact the OCHA Regional Office for the Pacific:
Sune Gudnitz, Head of Office
firstname.lastname@example.org, +679 999 1664
Danielle Parry, Public Information Officer
email@example.com, +679 777 1433
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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