12 Jan 2009

Assessment teams check Fiji floods

2:53 pm on 12 January 2009

Fiji's Disaster Management Office says relief assessment teams have been sent out this morning to the Western and Central divisions on Viti Levu to assess flood damage.

Its Director Joeli Cawaki says the Western division has officially been declared a disaster zone, with towns Nadi and Ba among the worse affected.

The Central division is now affected by flooding, particularly communities near the Rewa River and the town of Sigatoka has been flooded out.

He says so far there are 6,500 people who have been relocated to evacuation centres, that now number 130.

Joeli Cawaki says every effort is also being made to reach those in rural and remote areas.

"The government team is going out, trying to reach the community to make an assessment. By the end of business today we would be able to get a report of the extent of the damage. They are going by boat and some by vehicle, but the difficulty, the problem is, that we don't have access to a helicopter or aeroplanes. So we are doing whatever we can."

Fiji's National Disaster Management office director, Joeli Cawaki.