4 Apr 2012

Fiji authorities close Nadi for flooding cleanup

3:15 pm on 4 April 2012

The Fiji Ministry of Information says the Nadi Central Business District will be closed to all travelling public so a major clean-up can be undertaken.

The Ministry says those commuting from Sigatoka to Nadi and from Lautoka to Nadi will need to use the Nadi back road as the town road will be closed until 5 this evening.

The spokesperson for the ministry, Sharon Smith-Johns, says Lautoka is fully open for business and a lot of the shops in Ba will continue to open today.

But she says it will be a few more days before business in Nadi will begin to get back to normal.

"We were in Nadi two days ago and they were cleaning up and there were people wandering around and sightseeing and having a look at the damage and it's just hindering the businessmen getting on with it and getting the essential services in there, telecom lines back up, you've got FEA, you've got water, and just cleaning out that mud. So blocking that area off is a wise decision by their council."

Sharon Smith-Johns says getting essential services like water and power fully restored is the number one priority for the government.

She says she expects power to be mostly restored by next week.

It's estimated there are between 8,000 to 11,000 people in evacuation centres, with some leaving to clean up during the day, and returning to centres at night.

A High School in the Central Division says while it is open, if power is not restored it will be forced to close again.

The Central and Eastern Division are resuming classes as of today, however schools in the Western Division will remain closed for the rest of the week.

Nausori High School was not hit by the severe flooding but says most of it's students, who live in low lying areas, have been and only about a third of students are attending school.

The school's principal, Praveen Chand, says the school is without power, which means it will soon have difficulty with water-supply.

We have a stand-by water supply here, but that is limited - it can just last for a day, maybe by afternoon we may run out water if there is no power supply, so then we may have difficulty running this school. As it is, with no power supply we are managing, but with no water, sanitation will be a big problem.

Praveen Chand says if the school runs out of water, it will be forced to send the students home until the supply is restored.