This is the second OCHA Flash Update on Category 3 TC Zena near Fiji.
Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu is tonight preparing for Category 3 Severe Tropical Cyclone Zena to pass to the country’s south. A nation-wide curfew is now in place restricting movements as the worst of the Cyclone approaches. It is currently moving east-southeast at 50 km/hr. Close to its centre, the Cyclone is estimated to have average winds of 130 km/hr and momentary gusts to 185 km/hr. Winds are currently building over Fiji’s west now with further intensification expected over the coming hours. The Cyclone is soon expected to be due south of Sigatoka. It will then pass close to the island of Kadavu in the early hours of tomorrow morning before bringing storm force winds to the capital, Suva, before day break. All schools have been closed tomorrow.
Flooding remains the primary concern with many rivers already having burst their banks around Viti Levu. A number of major centres are already affected by serious flooding including Nadi, Sigatoka and Rakiraki. A large number of key roads are also cut by floodwaters around the country. TC Zena and associated rainfall will only add to the distress being experienced by thousands of people across Fiji who remain in transitional shelter since Category 5 TC Winston hit in February. In response to the recent days’ flooding, a total of 136 evacuation centres have been opened, mostly in the West, with more than 6471 people taking shelter there. The Ministry of Health has been reminding the public of the elevated health and hygiene risks associated with flooding, particularly given recent cases of Typhoid, Conjunctivitis and Zika in the wake of TC Winston. The Food Security Cluster reports that the heavy rain has badly affected the country’s vegetable growing areas and has already washed away replacement seeds and seedlings planted after TC Winston.
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 central coordination system activated. A Pacific Humanitarian Team Meeting was convened this afternoon and clusters are on standby to respond. Weather conditions are expected to rapidly improve once the Cyclone has passed.
Before approaching Fiji, the Cyclone impacted on northern Vanuatu last night. With the easing of weather conditions, the Vanuatu NDMO is deploying assessment teams to report on any damage, particularly on the island of Pentecost.
The next update will be issued after the cyclone passes tomorrow.
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