30 Sep 2005

More than 500 people forced from homes by Fiji floods

10:13 am on 30 September 2005

More than 500 people are sheltering in 10 evacuation centres and community halls following heavy flooding in Fiji's Central Division.

Radio Legend reports that another 24 families have sought shelter in three other locations.

But some people whose lives were threatened when their homes were flooded refused to evacuate because of the fear of looting.

The floods have devastated low-lying areas from Tailevu in the east to past Pacific Harbour in the west, damaging many homes, household goods, personal belongings and food gardens.

The Nadi Weather Centre is predicting more heavy rain in the next 24 hours as a trough of low pressure moves over the country from the west.

The education ministry says schools which were closed yesterday should reopen.

But offcials says it is up to parents to decide whether it is safe to send their children to school today.

Damage assessment teams will travel to flooded areas as soon as weather permits.