2 Apr 2012

Fiji authorities warn people to stay away from flooding

1:17 pm on 2 April 2012

A Fiji government official is warning people to stay away from flooded areas in the rain-hit Western Division.

The interim government has declared a state of natural disaster, as the weather system that's caused severe flooding over the past few days looks likely to be upgraded to a tropical cyclone within the next few hours.

Water and power is disrupted, many roads are closed, and the Ministry of Information's Sharon Smith-Johns says 8,000 people are in evacuation centres.

"Of course there's always curiosity and those people that will go into flood-affected areas sightseeing, you know we've tried to stop that as much as we can. The police are out there and the emergency services, we've put over the radio telling people not to go near these flooded waters, the flood waters are running very swiftly, there's debris in the water and it is very dangerous."

Sharon Smith-Johns says the interim prime minister is on his way to the Western Division to assess flooding damage.