3 Apr 2012

Fiji now runs 151 evacuation centres for flood victims

7:04 pm on 3 April 2012

Fiji's Disaster Office says there are now 151 activated evacuation centres in the central and western division.

In the central division alone, there are 24 evacuation centres while 127 centres have been activated in the western division.

The MInistry of Information puts the drowning death toll at 5, all from the Western Division.

The youngest was a three year old boy who drowned in a creek in Sigatoka.

The Fiji interim government says schools are to resume classes in Eastern and Central Division tomorrow now that the threat from Cyclone Daphne has abated.

The Ministry of Education earlier advised that all schools in these divisions would be closed for the week.

The Ministry of Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal says that with cyclone Daphe moving away from Fiji, it is now safe for students to return to their respective schools in both divisions.

Schools in the west remain closed due to the flooding.

The Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council says the severe flooding will make this harvesting season very difficult.

The Government says the death toll stands at six after heavy rains which flooded villages and stranded some residents in the Western Division.

The acting CEO of the council, Sundresh Chetty, says farmers are worried but it is still early days and they haven't been able to see exactly how widespread the damage is.

He says farmers will have trouble getting harvests to the Mill when operations start in early June.

"We know that there has been extensive damage. This is the second flood in the last two months. The first one was in January and we had extensive damage to the crops and other infrastructures here in Fiji. I understand the damage will be much greater this time around."

Sundresh Chetty says industry stakeholders will now meet to determine the next course of action.

The New Zealand foreign minister says the government stands by to extend help to flood-ravaged Fiji, should further assistance be requested.

Murray McCully says relief funds of 400,000 US dollars has been made available to organisations such as the Red Cross.

He says once assessments of the damage have been made, more help could be offered.

Things are pretty tough at the moment and taking stock of the situation is not going to be that easy and may take a little time, but we stand ready to provide further assistance if it is needed.

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully