4 Feb 2008

Fiji declares a state of natural disaster after Cyclone Gene

6:38 am on 4 February 2008

Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama has declared a state of natural disaster in areas affected by Cyclone Gene.

The Permanent Secretary for Natural Disaster, Manasa Vaniqi, said the declaration activated emergency powers and acess to funds.

The Fiji Times says this means officials have legal powers to provide prompt relief and rehabilitation to the affected cyclone and flooding victims.

The declaration will be in place for 30 days only

The Director of the National Disaster Management Service, Joeli Rokovada, said a budget of 3 point 3 million US dollars was set aside for such disasters and this was paying for food rations and the managing of evacuation centres.

He said the emergency declaration also meant officials have authority to forceablely remove victims for their safety.

It also gives the police the right to search a person's house without a warrant.