10 Jan 2011

Flooding clears in Fiji, but still no sign of man believed to have drowned

8:07 pm on 10 January 2011

Flooding in Fiji has now cleared but Fiji's Meteorological Service is warning people to expect further flooding in the coming days due to a slow moving trough of low pressure.

Police in Fiji say a man is believed to be dead after trying to cross the Nadi river during the height of heavy rain over the weekend.

Police spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri says the 48 year-old was on his way to a funeral on the other side of the swollen Nadi river.

He says the man was crossing the mouth of the river with four other men and a cow at about eight o'clock on Saturday morning.

"He had his gumboots on and also he was carrying his bag of clothes when he swam across the river. This, we suspect caused him problems when he was half-way through. He had shouted for assistance, for help. When his friends came in to help him he disappeared."

Atunaisa Sokomuri says heavy rainfall since last Wednesday has also caused flooding to crossings, freeways and low-lying areas in Rakiraki, Ba and Tavua.

Staff from District offices in these areas say they have received no reports of any serious damage.

But floods of up to half a metre high have affected sugar cane farms in low lying rural areas of the districts.

The CEO of Tavua Town Council Jasuman Khan says the flooding is a major blow for affected farms.

Well we feel sorry for the farmers, because most of them, even tho they've planted cane for next year, unless the water resides the cane will get rotten.

Tavua sugar cane farmer Yogendra Khand has 25 acres of sugar cane fields affected by the heavy rain and flooding.

Mr Khand says up to 80 tonnes of his sugar cane crop was left out and wasn't able to make it to the mill and is probably ruined.

He's advising other affected farmers to consider planting other cash crops to supplement their incomes.

I feel that farmers have struggled this year to get their canes to the mills because the mill has had some problems in operations, so the farmers have struggled. If this is the case, then farmers can move to cash crops where they can earn more money, like watermelon, planting of beans and other things.