14 Jan 2009

Red Cross makes progress in aid delivery to Fiji flood victims

8:23 pm on 14 January 2009

The Red Cross in Fiji says it is making good progress in distributing aid to people affected by the devastating flooding hitting the country.

So far, the rain and floods have claimed nine lives, and 6000 people remain displaced across the Fiji Island group.

The Red Cross has distributed blankets and clothing, while the Government aid has so far come in the form of food parcels.

New Zealand, Australia, China and Tonga have also contributed aid, while the US has announced it'll also contribute 50 000 US dollars that'll go to non-governmental organisations.

Fiji's Sugar Cane Growers Council is calling on foreign governments to release funds to help farmers devastated by the recent funding.

The Council's CEO Surendra Sharma says that prior to the 2006 coup, foreign governments, in particular New Zealand Australia and the European Union, provided fund which have since been blocked.

"What we'd like is for that is for that aid which has been saved in teh last 2 years, this runs into millions of dollars of aid....that this should be perhaps re-channeled in the way of humanitarian, disaster relief aid, and other aid that can be channelled to the farmers in some way compensate the farmers."

Meanwhile, Fiji's Ministry of Health has urged the public to take precautions against using contaminated water, and to only visit health clinics if there's an emergency, because it says it's safer to stay home at this point in time.

The Met service says with continued rain expected in the next 48 hours, more flooding is likely.

A gale warning remains in place for all Fiji waters.