The Fiji Labour Party is deeply concerned at the loss of lives and damage to property, goods and crops caused by the extensive flooding in the West in the past few days.
The Party calls on Government to send out monitoring teams as soon as practicable and to expedite relief rations to victims of severe flooding.
FLP’s acting Secretary General Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi said damage to homes, food supplies and crops have been fairly extensive where homes and farms were submerged by flood waters.
In the past week Fiji has experienced enormous rainfall, falling continuously for days which has resulted in unprecedented and severe flooding in the Western Division. By some estimates the flooding in Ba town has exceeded the benchmark set by the 1931 floods. In Nadi, residents claim flooding is unpraralleled.
“While families may have managed to salvage a little for immediate use, these are now running out and they will need relief supplies. In the Sigatoka Valley and upper reaches of the river entire settlements and villages have been cut off by flood waters. Root crops have been washed away and there has been extensive damage to livestock,” Mr Vayeshnoi said.
Hundreds of families have had to be evacuated from low lying areas, he said. The Sigatoka Valley is a major supplier of fresh vegetables to the Suva, Sigatoka and Nadi markets.
“These crops have been totally devastated. Apart from immediate relief, government will also have to consider crop rehabilitation assistance for these farmers once the floods subside,” Mr Vayeshnoi said.
Damage in other flood hit areas in Ba, Nadi, Rakiraki and Lautoka is just as bad, according to initial surveys by Labour Party teams.
In Ba FLP official Gaffar Ahmed said he was happy with the initiative taken by Dismac officials in providing assistance and immediate food supplies to affected families.
8 people believed dead from flooding and landslides.
In Ba Town, shops in the market area were under 8-9ft of water at the height of the floods on Jan 9 and 10. According to an FLP report 90% of shops in the town have been damaged and goods destroyed.
The town has been without water for almost a week and electricity was restored only today. Worst hit apart from the town was Central Yalalevu with 200 houses under water and the FSC lane in Rarawai.
Damage to infrastructure is substantial: main water pipe at the Waiwai water Plant burst cutting off supplies to the Ba area; Moto Bridge washed away cutting off access for residents; Vutuni, Toge and Veisaru No.1 Irish Crossings all washed away;
Rarawai Mill badly damaged by flood waters. With goods in supermarkets destroyed by floods, there is a shortage of flood items and people have to travel to Lautoka to buy food.
Shops and other business houses suffered extensive damage to goods and property.
A similar situation exists in Nadi town where flooding was also extensive. Although waters have receded, shop owners are complaining they cannot begin a mop up because of lack of water.
Govt stats show close to 8000 evacuees are taking shelter in about 300 evacuation shelters throughout the Western and Eastern Division.
PM Bainimarama is today touring affected centres in the West. Govt. has opened a PM’s Relief Fund and is offering a 200% tax incentive to those who donate to the fund. Damage is initially estimated at some $20 million but this does not include assessment of damage to agricultural crops. Damage to infrastructure is put at $14 million and rising.
Latest reports show that most roads in the Western Division are now open for traffic.
But Fiji is braced for another round of flooding, possibly even worse, with another trough affecting the nation, this time more extensive than the last one. Heavy rains since last night has caused widespread flooding in Labasa and outskirts, and Nadi River has once again burst its banks. Reports are that flood waters have entered the Nadi town.