Kiwis caught in killer Fiji storm

By Amelia Wade

Have you been caught in the floods?
Email us your photos, video. Tell us your story

Central Nadi is swamped yesterday by floodwaters as a large tropical depression struck the Fiji island group. Photo / Tomu Lawaniyasana
Central Nadi is swamped yesterday by floodwaters as a large tropical depression struck the Fiji island group. Photo / Tomu Lawaniyasana

More than 400 New Zealanders are understood to be in Fiji as the island nation is battered by a deadly storm.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism said last night it had no reason to suspect any Kiwis were in any danger, but urged them to contact the High Commission if they needed help.

Yesterday heavy flooding struck the Fijian tourist hub of Nadi and the northern city of Ba as a large tropical depression hit the region. By last night, more than 20 evacuation centres had been set up in Nadi while Ba was under nearly 2m of water.

The flooding has already claimed one life after a 30-year-old farmer trying to save his pigs in Dogoru River, Labasa, was caught in the rushing waters and became trapped in branches.

In Ba alone, 133 evacuees are at a kindergarten while five more families have taken shelter in a school, Fiji Broadcasting reported.

The heavy rain in Fiji also caused the worst floods on the northern island of Vanua Levu in three years.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism said there were 428 New Zealanders registered as being in Fiji.

But he said they had no reason to suspect any of them would be in the areas most affected by the flooding. "We would advise that anyone over there to keep in touch with their family and friends over here and to register their travel details on the Safe Travel website - safetravel.govt.nz.

"And the other bit of advice for New Zealanders is that if they are in trouble and need assistance, they should contact the High Commission."

Forecasters predicted there would not be any relief from the flooding until at least tomorrow.

The Fiji Meteorological Service said heavy rain would continue to fall over much of Fiji until tomorrow, causing more flooding in low-lying areas throughout the country.

But despite the flood warning, Fiji's Ministry of Information said the first day of the school term would be tomorrow as scheduled.

Education district officers were asked to closely monitor the situation and it was at their discretion as to whether a school needed to be closed.

The ministry also asked members of the public to refrain from crossing flooded roads and rivers and to continue listening to the radio for further updates on the weather.

In 2009, hundreds of tourists from New Zealand and Australia were stranded by flooding in the same areas that have been hit this week.

At the time, authorities declared a state of emergency in areas struck by a tropical storm, which killed eight people and left more than 9000 displaced.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 29 Nov 2014 00:22:34 Processing Time: 409ms