Solomons hit by storm as bad weather converges on Fiji

5:23 pm on 2 January 2019

Strong wind in Solomon Islands has destroyed homes while flood waters have damaged food gardens.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reported a number of families in East Malaita had been made homeless on Monday night by the weather.

Their crops were destroyed when the Kwaibaita river burst its banks, which may have also contaminated their drinking water.

A similar scene was reported in the Russel Islands in Central Province and on Guadalcanal, where the Ngalibiu river swept through villages in the island's east on Tuesday morning.

Also on Guadalcanal, food gardens and cash crops were destroyed when the Betikama river burst its banks near Kolina.

An Anglican priest in Kolina called for disaster relief.

The Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office could not be reached for comment but the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service issued a heavy rain warning for all provinces at 7am this morning.

It said a tropical low was located just 13 kilometres southeast of Taumako Island in Temotu province at 1am this morning, moving east at 14 knots.

The heavy rain could cause flooding and landslides, the service warned.

"People living near hill slopes, close to rivers, streams and in low lying areas are therefore strongly advised to take safety measures to avoid danger and loss of lives and property.

"Motorists are also advised to use extreme caution when travelling on roads. Do not attempt to cross rivers and large streams of unknown depth."

A spokesperson for the charity Oxfam in Solomon Islands said it was on standby and awaiting notification from the Disaster Management Office to offer what assistance it could.

Depression passes Fiji but more storms on the horizon

Tropical depression TD03F that was threatening Fiji is moving away but two more tropical disturbances have been detected that could intensify into a cyclone, the Fiji Meteorological service says.

Tropical disturbances moving close to Fiji.

Tropical disturbances moving close to Fiji. Photo: Fiji Met Service

At 3pm on Wednesday, the service said TD30F was moving southeast away from Fiji and weakening.

The strong wind warning in place for eastern Vanua Levu and the gale warning in force for the Northern Lau group were cancelled but rough seas were predicted across the country.

The service said a heavy rain warning remained in force for Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands as well as the eastern half of Viti Levu, Lau and Lomaiviti Group.

Meanwhile, a cyclone alert has been issued for Rotuma as tropical disturbances TD04F and TD05F are expected to merge.

"Tropical Depression, TD04F is predicted to be located very close to Rotuma tomorrow night to midnight and expected to move into Fiji Waters on Friday night and cross over Vanua Levu between Saturday night and Sunday night," the Acting Director of Meteorology Viliame Vereivalu said.

"As the system tracks over Rotuma it is expected to remain slow moving and intensifying. There's a risk of flash flooding in low-lying and flood-prone areas. Therefore, all communities living in the flood prone and landslide areas are requested to remain alert and take precautions when necessary."

On Tuesday night, TD04F was located about 1600 kms west-northwest of Nandi while TD05F was about 1000kms northwest of the city.