Cyclone Tino: Missing 2 Concerns Prime Minister Bainimarama, Expect More Floods in Viti Levu

He said Government teams’ were on the ground providing assistance to those who needed it.
18 Jan 2020 10:23
Cyclone Tino: Missing 2 Concerns Prime Minister Bainimarama, Expect More Floods in Viti Levu
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainmarama during a high level briefing with senior Government officials and stakeholders at Nasilivata House in Suva on January 17, 2020. Photo: Shalveen Chand

Areas in the Eastern part of Viti Levu – mainly Namosi, Serua, parts of Nadroga and the Rewa River catchments are more prone to flooding than Vanua Levu.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was informed of this during the high-level briefing held at Nasilivata House in Suva yesterday.

Mr Bainimarama urged the public to stay safe and adhere to warnings as there was a forecast for more rain.

He said he was concerned about the school teacher and his daughter who were swept away by strong currents while crossing a river in Serua.

When this edition went to press last night, the two were still missing.

“I am worried about the father and daughter who went missing in Navua and the people in the evacuation centers,” he said.

“We are going to experience a lot of rain, especially in low-lying areas and maybe strong winds in the Lau Group later on.”

He said Government teams’ were on the ground providing assistance to those who needed it.

Electricity – Viti Levu to have a minimum effect

Energy Fiji Limited chief executive officer Hasmukh Patel said damages were expected in Vanua Levu as heavy rain was forecasted.

“Obviously, we have power systems in Labasa, Dreketi, Savusavu and below in Taveuni. This is a Category One cyclone, but if the rain is heavy then there will be some damages. There will be flooding,” he said.

“We have had some rain and already the ground in Labasa is heavy and saturated. If we have more rain, there are more chances of poles slipping and falling. We are expecting some damage and we are prepared for it.

“We have not been able to send more teams, yesterday we tried to send, but we were told that the ships were not operating.”

Mr Patel said EFL would wait for the cyclone to pass and then deploy teams on the ground. He said EFL would not shut down power in Viti Levu.

He said there could be damage to the poles as a result of landslides, but otherwise, Viti Levu does not face much of a threat.

FRA expects landslides

Fiji Roads Authority chief executive officer Jonathan Moore said he expected landslides along the Queens Road and Kings Road because of the saturation of water in the ground.

Mr Moore said because of the continuous heavy rain, water was running off the top and in some places sipping into cracks.

He said this would lead to more landslides.

“We already cleared four to five landslides along the Queens Road this morning (yesterday).

“We anticipate more landslides especially along the Queens Road, Kings Road and in parts of Vanua Levu,” he said.

Mr Moore said the FRA teams would attend to situations when it was deemed safe.

He added he was against driving in the weather, especially along the Queens Road.

More dengue cases expected

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said the Ministry of Health teams were on standby, and ready to assist when possible.

This is because of a threat of an increase in the cases of dengue fever in the Northern Division following the heavy rain forecast.

“We have already had 10 confirmed cases of dengue in the North. So, with the floods and the recent rain, we are asking people to stay safe,” he said.

“We advise everyone to be mindful of the dangers especially the health risks after disasters.”

He said in terms of health staff in various locations that were at risk, the ministry had taken all precautions to ensure their safety and that of patients under their charge.

Communication and evacuation centers

The National Disaster Management Office director, Vasiti Soko, said there were some areas in the Northern Division which were in a communication blackspot – meaning there was no communication from there.

Ms Soko said they had help from Telecom Fiji to set up satellite phones in those locations for the latest updates.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra



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