9 Jan 2009

Curfew imposed in Nadi as flooding worsens

6:20 pm on 9 January 2009

A curfew is in place in Nadi town as flooding from torrential rains batters Fiji's west, and is expected to continue until Sunday.

Several towns in Viti Levu including Nadi, Rakiraki and Ba are under water, and evacuation centres have been set up, with around 700 people currently being housed..

The mayor of Nadi, Timoci Koroiqica says it is the worst flooding seen in Nadi for many years, with 10-15 feet of water in low-lying areas.

He says a curfew was put in place for the safety of the local population.

"It's from 12-midday today til further notice. Because if you go into the centre of the business district in Nadi town, from both sides of the town, there are rivers. So its to stop some people who have a lot of curiousity coming to town for nothing. And also, some times people do break into shops during floods."

Timoci Koroiqica says he has spoken to the mayor of Ba, and there is a lot of flooding there, and they need help to evacuate farmers.

Local media is reporting a 19 year old was washed away by strong currents in Ba, as he was trying to cross the flooded Rarawai flats.

The Fiji Metservice says people in the northern and eastern parts of Fiji, including Vanua Levu Island, need to prepare for the possibility of flooding as heavy rain is forecast for the region by weekend.

A senior civil servant in the Western Division, Joeli Rokovada, says the police and military are helping to ferry passengers to and from Nadi's international airport, which remaIns open.

The tourists as they arrive in Nadi airport have been advised by the police to be cautious about their movements. They've been advised not to travel to Suva because of the flooding situation. Because most sections of the road from Nadi to Suva is affected.