Fiji military readies for Tropical Cyclone Pam
Emergency services and authorities in Fiji have revved up preparations as effects from Tropical Cyclone Pam threaten the country.
Fiji is revving up preparations as effects from Tropical Cyclone Pam threaten the country.
Airlines have cancelled flights due to the weather conditions, shipping to the Yasawa Islands has been cancelled and retailers across Fiji are moving stock and securing properties.
Emergency services and authorities, including the Republic of Fiji Military Force, are also on high alert.
The RFMF Land Force Commander, Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho, told Koro Vaka'uta his men are expected to play a large part in preparation and in any potential disaster response.
COLONEL SITIVENI QILIHO: The RFMF has pre-deployed troops into the likely flood areas so they are connecting with those areas now and looking at our logistics to assist us should we need to evacuate people from those areas. Also to be there to be able to report to government should communication to those areas be disrupted. Also post-disaster we can assist with making initial assessments so that government is aware of the damage that may have been caused. The RFMF has pre-deployed troops to over 20 areas in the three main islands of Taveuni, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu to these likely flood-prone areas.
KORO VAKA'UTA: How much manpower is being used for these efforts?
CSQ: At the moment we have 89 engineers deployed on 14 projects around the two main islands. They are already in position and then we've moved members of our infantry battalion into other areas that we see needs to be covered and also we have a standby element here. We're looking at 250-300 troops on 30 minutes notice to move now. The rest of the RFMF, the whole RFMF is on a two hours notice to move. We are monitoring the weather closely and if need by the weekend as well will be a normal working day so that we can give the assistance to government that is required.
KV: In the lead-up what kind of tasks are being done? Is it like sand-bagging and that sort of thing?
CSG: No there is no need for that at the moment. The other arms of government, the municipalities and all that are looking at clearing those likely flood areas and waterways. The RFMF is looking at the other areas that are normally flooded despite all the preparations so we are looking at that and looking at what are the assets that maybe required from other government departments for us to utilise should we need them.
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