4 Apr 2018

More severe weather expected in coming days in Fiji

12:03 pm on 4 April 2018

As the cleanup continues in Fiji's west after Cyclone Josie, the country could be in for another bout of severe flooding.

Sateliite image showing weather system over SW Pacific, April 4 2018

Sateliite image showing weather system over SW Pacific, April 4 2018 Photo: Fiji Met Service

Distribution of aid is underway in Fiji's Western Division after the category one cyclone brought heavy rains and flooding over recent days.

There have been four deaths, and one man is still reported to be missing.

The acting principal scientific officer with Fiji's Met Service, Steven Meke, said the country should brace itself for more severe weather because the cyclone season has not finished.

"I would say after April (when the cyclone season ends), we are expecting another series of blows to come, just to the west, just like Josie did. And we are expecting another episode of severe flooding, maybe come early next week," Mr Meke said.

He said people in Fiji's low-lying areas had been urged to take precautions.

The damage caused by Cyclone Josie.

The damage caused by Cyclone Josie. Photo: Facebook/ Fiji Government

Although just a category one cyclone, Josie formed out of a depression which was preceded by a trough that brought significant rain from the west.

It combined with high tides to produce the severe flooding of the past week.

"This has been the case for our last flood as well," Mr Meke epxlained.

"I think the flood that we had in 2012, and 2009 with a similar situation with a depression then affected us in 2012, it caused severe flooding. It came from the west as well, and it was just dumping all these northwesterly rain bands."

Acute need for water in West

There is an acute and widespread need for water in Fiji's west following the weekend's dousing by Cyclone Josie.

The Fiji Red Cross' Western Division services co-ordinator Mathew Bolaitamana said Red Cross workers had been helping the wost-affected communities in Nadi and Ba.

Mr Bolaitamana said firemen had also helped with the clean-up and with carting water to those in need.

According to him, the government is channeling resources to restoring broken mains and damaged reservoirs.

He said many communities had shown great initiative in beginning the clean-up effort in their own areas themselves.

The Fiji Red Cross has been giving out aid supplies to those worst affected, including dignity kits, hygiene packs, and solar lights.

The government is advising people to take precautions about use of water due to the risk of disease n the aftermath of the flooding.