NEWS

Flood-hit residents blame climate change for damage

Climate change was on the lips of many Wainadoi and Nabukavesi residents yesterday as they cleaned up after floodwaters receded. They blamed it for the frequent rain and floods making
22 Nov 2017 13:59
Flood-hit residents blame climate change for damage
Nabukavesi villager Balaibua Batilekaleka, 56, is concerned with frequent flash flooding at his village which is also damaging their homes and farms. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Climate change was on the lips of many Wainadoi and Nabukavesi residents yesterday as they cleaned up after floodwaters receded.

They blamed it for the frequent rain and floods making their areas prone to flooding.

COP23 has made them more aware that they can expect wild weather patterns in their settlements in the future.

Heavy overnight rain swelled the Wainadoi River which broke its banks and flooded the flats.

Heavy debris washed down by raging floodwaters broke and destroyed one bridge and partially washed away another. More than 30 residents were stranded.

Balaibua Batilekaleka, 56, who has been living at Nabukavesi since birth said the effects of climate change were becoming evident and was no longer something that could be ignored.

He shared these sentiments after at least an hour’s heavy downpour flooded the village. It restricted the villagers’ movements.

“We had a surprise when the big flood came in the morning when we woke up,” Mr Batilekaleka said.

“People could not move out of the village because the road was flooded and so was the bridge.”

There were houses which had waters to the floor level, he added.

“Every time there is a heavy downpour there is a flood. I think this is definitely related to climate change, we just had a flood last week and now we’re having another,” Mr Batilekaleka said.

He said years ago, flood was uncommon to their village. It would occur once or twice in a year but now it was just getting regular.

The village has more than 117 families.

Pradip Singh shows how flash flooding and fallen trees washed away their Irish Crossing in Wainadoi Zone 2 on November 21, 2017. The crossing is used by over 20 families daily. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Pradip Singh shows how flash flooding and fallen trees washed away their Irish Crossing in Wainadoi Zone 2 on November 21, 2017. The crossing is used by over 20 families daily. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Pradip Singh, a Wainadoi resident, said the residents desperately needed assistance from Government as flooding was becoming a major concern because it was happening often.

“Through Government aid, we had this bridge built eight years ago and it got washed away in little less than an hour’s rain,” Mr Singh said.

“School children, workers, sick ones have to stay at home because right now there is no way to cross this heavily flooded river,” Mr Singh added.

But Lasaro Qororarua, 62, said the regular flooding during this time of the year was because of human activities such as logging up in the mountains.

Weather update

The rain is caused by a trough of low pressure.

According to Fiji Meteorological Services, the trough is expected to affect the Fiji Group until Friday.

In addition, heavy rainfalls led to flash flooding in the Central and Eastern Division.

The rain is expected to, however, ease over most places by tomorrow.

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Parveen Bala has instructed municipal councils to ensure that the drains, waterways and creeks within their boundaries are cleaned to avoid flooding.

Meanwhile, Police officers have been tasked to visit flooded areas to ensure that people are safe.

Fiji Roads Authority said Dawakoto Road off Buiduna Road in Nausori, Vugalei Flats before Nakavu Village, Waiyanitu Road, Old Queens Road, Wainadoi and Naqeledamu crossing were closed as of yesterday afternoon.

The Ministry of Agriculture too has advised farmers to safeguard their crops and livestock.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  ronaldk@fijisun.com.fj



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