4 Apr 2012

Fiji Red Cross says scale of floods unprecedented

6:38 pm on 4 April 2012

The Red Cross in Fiji says it believes the country has experienced its worst ever flooding.

Five people died in the deluge, which hit the Western Division the hardest, and 11,000 people are taking shelter in evacuation centres.

The acting director-general of Fiji's Red Cross, Christopher Ho, says it's hard to tell the true extent of the damage until waters fully recede.

He says with the ground still very wet, the concern is that just half a day of rain is needed before flooding will reach worrying levels.

Mr Ho says in addition, food supplies are low, partly because crops have been destroyed in the floods.

"There's a need for food as always, and the longer the flooding or water stays, accessibility and the logistics issues about getting food to people, even for people to come out, even access to supermarkets is limited, so that can cause for greater concern."

The Fiji Met Service says the risk of further flooding is still very much a concern.

The director of the Fiji Metservice, Alipate Waqaicelua, says most parts of Fiji are still getting rain.

He says it doesn't take long, especially for the low-lying areas in the Western Division, to become flooded again.

The ground is already saturated, whatever comes to ground now will just rise up and run off as floods. We are expecting more rain at least in the coming week, through the easter weekend we are still seeing more rain heading our way, so Fiji is not out of the woods yet.

Alipate Waqaicelua says fortunately the rain is coming in bands, so there are breaks in between the rain showers.