5 Apr 2012

14,000 now in evacuation centres in Fiji

10:33 am on 5 April 2012

In Fiji, 14,000 people are now staying in 180 evacuation centres around the country.

The Permanent Secretary Disaster Management Colonel Inia Seruiratu says 157 centres are in the West and 23 are in the Central division.

Colonel Seruiratu says with the high number of people, food rations have continuously been provided to all these evacuation centres.

He says food is the main focus for the government and everyday assessments have been conducted so rations are distributed equally.

Fiji Village online reports that according to Colonel Seruiratu, with schools in the West expected to start classes on the 10th of April, these evacuees will be relocated to other centres.

54 schools have been used as evacuation centres.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross in Fiji says it expects evacuees will have to wait some time before they can return to their homes.

The acting director-general of Fiji's Red Cross, Christopher Ho, says with the grounds completely saturated, just a slight change in weather will trigger more flooding.

"If it actually rains again and their place is under water, they still need to be housed there (evac. centres). Also there is the health issue with the flood waters. Compounding that in some cases if you have flood waters and houses submerged, then you've got a potential safety issue regarding electricity. I think it will take some time, I think the authorities are going through even house by house in Nadi looking at electrical circuitry and switches before people can actually move back in."

Christopher Ho says even with sunshine, it will take a couple of days for the mud to dry up before people can move to their homes.