One dead, thousands flee Fiji flood

From Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai'i

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji TV, Sept. 30) -- At least one person is dead and thousands of people from Fiji's Namosi area are spending the night in evacuation centres as floodwaters forced them to abandon their villagers. Residents living along the low-lying areas of Veisari, Naboro and Wainadoi, woke up early this morning to see water gushing into their homes.

A 20-year old youth was killed when he was swept into a flooded drain and became stuck in a culvert in the Suva suburb of Domain.

Elsewhere, floodwaters which rose rapidly this morning all the way across from Tailevu in the east to Pacific Harbour in the west are receding slightly after heavy rain lasting more than 24 hours eased earlier then expected.

Some roads in the greater Suva area, Tailevu and elsewhere have been closed by floodwaters and landslides, and power lines have been brought down by falling trees.

[PIR editor's note: The areas hit by flood waters are located in the lower central part of Fiji's Viti Levu island, northwest of the capital city of Suva.]

One of the worst hit villages was Lobau, where houses all but disappeared.

Everything was fine until four this morning, when villagers were awakened by heavy rains.

In just six hours, almost all houses were under water, water, which continued to rise.

While one woman braved the elements, others preferred another option, boats, and lots of them.

The village chief recounted the horror.

"At 4 a.m. this morning someone woke me to say that the flood waters were coming into the house, the waves were just coming in. We started using the boats to go to the other side of the village."

Disaster management Minister Ted Young along with the Tui Namosi arrived at about 10 o'clock to personally survey the situation.

Government's first priority is getting people to evacuation centres, the before the high tide comes in. People here had no choice but to leave their homes, and authorities reminded them to put life before property.

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