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Editorial: WARNING!!! We Ignore Safety Tips at Our Own Peril

Editorial: WARNING!!! We Ignore Safety Tips at Our Own Peril
Transports and people were stuck at Soasoa in Labasa due to flooding yesterday. Photo: Wati Talebula
April 07
11:45 2018

Tropical Cyclone Josie came and went leaving behind seven deaths and damage from floodwaters.

As we begin to recover, another weather event, a tropical depression, TD 13F, is expected to make landfall this weekend in Fiji.

Because its movement is unpredictable and its path could change like Tropical Cyclone Winston, no one is predicting yet where it would make landfall.

But one thing remains constant – the threat it poses to human lives, livestock and property.

We should all heed the warning of our Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

“Every Fijian should remain on high alert and adhere to the advice of authorities as we prepare for more severe weather across the country over the next few days,” he said.

“As we’ve seen due to changing weather patterns, these storms are becoming more frequent and more severe, and it is vitally important that every Fijian is fully prepared for this fresh onslaught.

“We are already providing relief and rehabilitation in those areas already hit by Tropical Cyclone Josie. And we have no way of knowing exactly where the next storm will strike, so we must all be prepared and alert.”

These are key points from his address to the nation:

ν Pay close attention to the media and the warnings and advice that will be given in the coming days.

ν Make sure your property is as secure as you can make it. If you have any doubt about its ability to withstand the storm, we have evacuation centres ready to take you.

ν Your personal safety and that of your family is paramount.

ν Please avoid any swollen rivers and stay out of any floodwaters altogether.

ν Do not try to drive through water covering the road.

ν Take special care to ensure those who are vulnerable, including children and the elderly, are kept as far away as possible from flooded areas and out of harm’s way.

ν Be prepared, stay safe, listen out for regular updates on the weather conditions and follow the instructions of disaster management officials. If you are being affected, know that help is on the way.

This is no time to be gambling with your lives and the lives of your families and others by ignoring the warning and advice.

Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Natural Disaster Management, has endorsed his leader’s advice. He is reiterating what has been said before.

They are doing it because of the seriousness of the situation before us.

It is better to err on the side of caution. Some tragedies have occurred in the past because people have failed to take heed of the warnings and advice.

Mr Bainimarama says this has been a very trying time for Fijians who are still reeling from the severe weather we experienced earlier this week.

He says all of his government’s efforts are being directed at assisting those Fijians already affected.

The onus is on all of us to follow the safety tips.

Remember, we ignore them at our own peril.

Nemani Delaibatiki


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