NEWS

Be On Guard

People have been urged to remain alert during this long weekend as meteorologists at Nadi Airport track Tropical Cyclone Ula. The cyclone – reported upgraded to category two intensity –
01 Jan 2016 09:55
Be On Guard

People have been urged to remain alert during this long weekend as meteorologists at Nadi Airport track Tropical Cyclone Ula.

The cyclone – reported upgraded to category two intensity – could cross Lau and Lomaiviti and move towards our main islands.

Earlier yesterday the commercial NaDraki weather service said: “Forecast models indicate TC Ula will move west-southwest towards Fiji … then towards southeast Viti Levu and so there is a high risk that this system will directly impact Fiji.

“More significantly, forecasts indicate that once TC Ula reaches the south of Viti Levu it may well slow down or become near stationary for a day or two. This is a concern because even weak tropical cyclones can wreak great devastation if they are slow moving as rainfall accumulates and flooding becomes more extensive with time.”

Tropical Cyclone Ula was one of two storms being closely monitored by the Fiji Meteorological Service from Nadi. Tropical Depression 07F to the Northwest was bringing heavy rain warnings (See pages 3, 4).

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has of last evening, activated all divisional commissioner’s offices and operation centres around the country with skeleton staff.

Director Akapusi Tuifagalele said it was important for the public to know that all was not well as many would be in the hype of celebrating the New Year this weekend.

“It is not only that we are in the cyclone season, there is already Cyclone Ula. There may be more into the future, but as we prepare ourselves to move into 2016, we inform the public to be careful and to take extra care of their families and how they individually try to minimise the losses that happen during a situation like this,” Mr Tuifagalele said.

Also offices and communities should be prepared and alert, he said.

“The country would be experiencing continuous heavy rain and flooding at low-lying areas was to be expected.

He said they were working closely with the Fiji Police Force and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) on the safety of every Fijian should anything happen this weekend.

 

Evacuation centres

Mr Tuifagalele confirmed there were more than 600 evacuation centres around the country and it would be activated on a case by case basis once the need arise.

“Knowing we have schools that are being used mostly for evacuation centres, we have requested the Ministry of Education to be alert if there will be a need to open evacuation centres during this weekend,” he said.

 

Precaution

Mr Tuifagalele said they were aware that there have been cases of alleged sexual violence at some evacuation centres in the past.

He said this was something they were trying to avoid.

“It is something we would like to minimise and completely eradicate as we move on. We are aware of that and the Police have been informed.”

 

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