About 100,000 affected in Fiji’s western division flood, low pressure system intensifies


An estimated 100,000 Fijians have been affected by the pervasive flooding in the Western Division as a result of Tropical Cyclone Josie.

National Disaster Management Office Director (NDMO) Anare Leweniqila said the cost of damage report is expected to be finalised later today.

“80 to 100 thousand people who have been directly affected by the event, they are currently classified as our primary area of concern and the primary population that has being affected is about 100, 000,” said Leweniqila.

In the wake of the extensive flooding, evacuees peaked at 2,278 and spread across forty evacuation centres.

With clean – up crews and emergency teams working around the clock to remove debris, more than 1,700 evacuees were able to return to their homes yesterday with more expected to leave the remaining evacuation centres today.

Schools in the Western Division from Rakiraki to Nadroga – Navosa will remain closed today and are expected to resume classes from Monday. In the northern division schools in Labasa remain closed today.

Leweniqila has advised members of the public to continue to monitor the weather situation with more rain expected to affect both the Western and Northern divisions.

The NDMO Director said the authorities are working around the clock to clear the debris and work to minimise any further risks of flooding with the impending rain over the coming days.

Meanwhile, a low pressure system that developed to the west of Fiji has intensified to a tropical disturbance TD13F.

It’s expected to intensify into a tropical depression by Sunday and possibly intensify further into a Category One cyclone as it moves towards the group.

Fiji Meteorology Service Director Ravind Kumar says it’s expected to take a similar track as TC Josie that will pass South-west of the group early next week.

He said its likely the system will be stronger than TC Josie and if it tracks more closely to the land areas than the impact can be worse.

“As the system moves closer to the Group, expect strong wind to damaging gale force winds with frequent heavy rain. With more rain forecasted and soil being saturated, there is high risk of severe River flooding especially in the Western Division. The system has potential to produce more than 120mm of rainfall in 24 hours this weekend,” he said.