4 Apr 2012

Emergency relief agencies in Fiji say 11,000 now in evacuation centres

7:33 am on 4 April 2012

Emergency relief agencies in Fiji are now working around the clock to provide for more than 11,000 people who are now in evacuation centres in the Western and Central division after the weekend flooding.

Fiji village online says the flooding has already been described as the worst ever and the devastation from the flood is also massive.

The majority of the evacuees are from the Western division.

The Director of the Disaster Management Office says they are currently facing some issues at the evacuation centres.

Pajiliai Dobui says some evacuation centres do not have power and water supply, and sanitation is also a concern.

He says they are distributing food rations already however due to the number of infants at the evacuation centres they need to include milk in the ration packs.

Meanwhile, all schools in the Central and Eastern Division will resume classes today.

Fiji Village online says this was confirmed by the Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary.

Dr Brij Lal says with Cyclone Daphne moving away from the Fiji group it is now safe for students to return to their respective schools in the Central and Eastern Division.

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."

Australia is also providing urgent humanitarian assistance to Fiji.

The Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced Australia will provide up to $1 million US dollars to help people in the worst-affected areas of Fiji.

He says as weather conditions settle, Australia will send 350,000 water purification tablets, 2,000 water containers and more than 3,000 tarpaulins to Fiji.

He says these items will be distributed by Fiji's National Disaster Management Office and Ministry of Health.

Senator Carr says Australia will also provide immediate financial assistance to the Fiji Red Cross and UNICEF to assess the damage and replenish essential water and sanitation supplies, medicine, clothing and shelter.

He says Australia will continue to work with partners in Fiji as the water recedes and the scale of the disaster becomes clearer.