2 Apr 2018

Fiji police retrieve four bodies following major flooding

6:36 am on 2 April 2018

Police in Fiji are still searching for a 19-year-old man who was washed away by flood waters in Sabeto, Nadi.

Heavy rain and strong winds associated with Tropical Cyclone Josie, a category one, has caused major flooding in parts of the country.

Police have confirmed that five people have been washed away by flood waters and they have retrieved four bodies.

A woman was found in Vatulaulau in Ba, a 55-year-old man was found in Lautoka and two people have been found in Uciwai in Nadi.

Evacuation centres open

National Disaster Management Director Anare Leweniqila also confirms that a number of evacuation centres are now active in the Western division.

"As of now, we have evacuated 18 evacuation centres that are in Lautoka, Nadi and Nadroga. We are yet to receive some of the reports from Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki in relation to some of the evacuation centres."

However, Mr Leweniqila was not able to confirm how many people were currently in these evacuation centres.

Power outage

Residents in Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki are without power supply.

Fiji Electricity Authority chief executive Hasmukh Patel told the Fiji Broadcast Corporation that residents in Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki were without power supply.

Fiji Electricity Authority chief executive Hasmukh Patel said power supply in a number of areas in the Western division has been affected due to flooding.

"A few areas in the Central division are also without power and a team is trying to find out the reason for the outage," he said.

Areas from Matanivusi in Sigatoka to Rakiraki were badly affected by floods, he said.

Mr Patel said they do not know the extent of damage at this stage.

"We are not able to access some of our zones [substations] and unless we access them and look at what the condition of the station is we will not be able to take further steps towards restoration of power supply," he said.

"So we are waiting for flood water to recede and then take appropriate action should there be not much damage in terms of the power lines that we may be able to quickly switch on the power supply."

He adds power supply has been restored in certain parts of Lautoka, Nadi and Sigatoka.

Mr Patel said the power supply was still intact in Vanua Levu.

Fiji Village online said Fijians have been urged to take heed of the warnings issued by the authorities seriously.

A heavy rain warning is in force for the whole of Fiji.

There is a flood warning for Semo village, Nawaka, Mulomulo, Votualevu to Nadi Town, Toge to Ba Town, Vatukacevaceva to Rakiraki Town, Nasivi to Tavua Town, Navua Town and Keyasi to Sigatoka Town.

The Weather Office said from 9am yesterday to 9am today Nadi, Nausori, Lautoka, Sigatoka, Rakiraki, Tavu and Labasa recorded more than 55mm of rain.

Road closures

Twenty-one roads in the Central division are closed, forty-seven in the Western Division and two in the Northern Division are closed and impassable.

The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) said all roads in the Eastern Division are open.

A fallen tree on the Kings Road at Drekeinakelo near Kasavu has been cleared.

The FRA said both lanes were now accessible.

Meanwhile drivers are being urged to avoid driving into water of unknown depth and current as this can be life threatening.

The FRA said drivers should find alternative routes where possible and take extra caution.

The FRA is closely monitoring the situation and the public was being urged to remain vigilant, tune into the local radio and listen to the advice of the emergency services.

Meanwhile the Water Authority said people living in Rakiraki, Tavua and Ba, and parts of Lautoka will experience low water pressure.

The interruption is due to low reservoir level at the Water Treatment plants and service reservoirs supplying to these areas.

This is caused by flood waters damaging pipelines and pump stations.

Tropical Cyclone threat map for Tropical Cyclone JOSIE Category 1

Tropical Cyclone threat map for Tropical Cyclone JOSIE Category 1 Photo: Fiji Met Service