9 Apr 2018

Cyclone Keni brings more fear to sodden Fiji households

8:18 pm on 9 April 2018

A local charity helping flood-struck families in Fiji says there's a lot of fear about another cyclone heading towards the country.

Water, hygiene kits, clothes, groceries and other relief items have been donated to flood-affected communities in Ba.

Water, hygiene kits, clothes, groceries and other relief items have been donated to flood-affected communities in Ba. Photo: Facebook/ FRIEND

Cyclone Keni is expected to be closest to Fiji about midday tomorrow, on the tail of a week of rain and Cyclone Josie the previous weekend.

Sashi Kiran, of the organisation FRIEND, said homes standing on saturated ground in the country's west and north are at risk with more rain and wind expected.

But she said people were so engrossed coping with recent floods, the impending cyclone is just another worry.

"They have seen their houses go, they have seen their whole cars go, they have seen their entire furniture go into a river. And then after that they've had to live in very wet clothes and in muddy conditions for days."

Sashi Kiran said people had been struggling with lack of drinking water and food.

Flood damage in Ba.

Flood damage in Ba. Photo: Facebook/ FRIEND

The director of the Fiji Met Service, Ravindra Kumar, said Keni is expected to be about 120 kilometres off Nadi by mid afternoon Tuesday.

He said on its current southeasterly trajectory it will come within about 100 kilometres to the south of Kadavu Island later on Tuesday afternoon.

He said "we have a got a storm warning for parts of the main island [Viti Levu] and as it comes closer this storm warning will be expanded to most of Viti Levu, the Lau and Lomaiviti group, as well as Kadavu and nearby smaller islands".

Ravindra Kumar said they are anticipating 150 millimetres over 24 hours particularly in the Western Division, which is already sodden after last week's rain.

The cyclone is now a category two storm with sustained winds near its centre of about 100 kilometres an hour.

Meanwile civil servants in Fiji have been advised not to go into work tomorrow as the cyclone approaches

The Fiji Roads Authority has warned a large number of roads in the Western Division are closed, while parts of the key King's and Queen's Highways are reduced to single lane by flooding.

It also said there are significant issues with flooding on some roads in the Central Division.

Fiji Airways has cancelled several international, regional and local flights due to the bad weather.

Today's flights connecting Nadi to Auckland, Port Vila, Australian cities, Hong Kong and Los Angeles have been affected.

On some routes, passengers have been rebooked on other flights.

Fiji's sugar cane farmers brace for more bad weather

Farmers of Fiji's all-important sugar cane crop are bracing for more bad weather amid concerns production has already been chopped by a third.

Cyclone Keni is forecast to bring more rain and wind to western Fiji where most of the country's cane farms are located.

The General Secretary of the Cane Growers Association in Rakiraki, Pushp Dass said farmers were drastically affected by floods over Easter.

He said much of the nearly mature cane either fell down or was totally uprooted and the crop could be down by about 35 percent.

Mr Dass said the farmers will be looking for subsidies or a special cane payment once the bad weather's over.

"They can't do anything at the moment because of waterlogged farms because the rain has hardly stopped since Easter weekend. Mentally they are very disturbed but it's all natural. We can't do much about it."

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Photo: RNZ