29 Sep 2005

One confirmed dead in flash floods in Fiji

8:27 pm on 29 September 2005

Today's flash floods in the south east of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, have claimed at least one life.

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.

Fiji TV says police and firemen took more than 6 hours to retrieve his body after they brought in diggers and pumps to clear out the water.

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.

Water levels in the flooded Navua River and small rivers between Navua town and Suva are falling.

People whose homes have been badly flooded have sought shelter in evacuation centres and police have advised residents in these areas not to take any risks tonight and move while they can.

Patients at the Navua Hospital have been evacuated to Suva because of flooding for the second time in a year.

Schools closed in the Central Division today will remain closed until the education ministry gives the all clear.

The Public Works Department has urged people to collect rainwater for personal use because some intakes have been blocked by debris brought by floodwaters.

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.