26 Jan 2012

State of natural disaster declared in parts of Fiji

11:55 am on 26 January 2012

A state of natural disaster has been declared in flood-ravaged parts of Fiji, as disaster officials use a break in the weather to try to assess the extent of the damage.

The permanent secretary of information, Sharon Smith-Johns, says parts of Nadi, Ba, and Rakiraki, in the Western Division, have now been declared natural disaster zones.

She says the military, police, non-government organisations and the Red Cross are heading to the affected areas.

"We can now tap into extra resources, get them into the field, the rivers are subsiding. So it gets the efforts into the field to start to assist these people that have been evacuated to assess the damage that's been done in these areas."

Sharon Smith-Johns says 3,400 people are in evacuation centres and more than a hundred homes could have been taken by the floods.

The New Zealand government is giving Fiji 350,000 New Zealand dollars in aid to support its flood response.

The Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says the funding will be made available immediately to the Fiji Red Cross, followed by other agencies.

Mr McCully says there are no reports of New Zealanders in need of urgent assistance in Fiji.