5 Feb 2007

Flooding in Fiji's north forces residents from homes

1:53 pm on 5 February 2007

More than 600 people have been evacuated following flooding in and around the Vanua Levu town of Labasa in Fiji.

The flooding was brought on by a depression which passed over Vanua Levu late yesterday bringing torrential rain and strong winds which destroyed cane crops and blew roofs off buildings.

At least ten evacuation shelters have been set up but no casualties have been reported.

Rain has eased and flood waters in Labasa town are receding but clean-up efforts have been hampered because power supplies have been knocked out.

Schools are under water and closed.

Highways leading from Labasa to other centres on Vanua Levu such as Savusavu are also closed.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says he has instructed the interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, to visit Vanua Levu and assess the damage to homes, crops and shops.