6 Apr 2012

Tents and tarpaulins flown into flood affected parts of Fiji

4:13 pm on 6 April 2012

Disaster relief officials in Fiji say they are looking at alternatives, including tents, to accommodate evacuees as they aim to reopen schools by next Tuesday.

The confirmed death toll from the flooding, which hit the Western Division and parts of the Central Division, stands at five and about 12,000 people are still in evacuation centres, most of which are schools.

The permanent secretary for Provincial Development and Disaster Management in Fiji Lieutenant-Colonel Inia Seruiratu says as much as they want schools to reopen, they won't be forcing people to return to homes that aren't safe.

"Even if we come up with big tents or whatever shelter that we can give them. We are considering all our options now. As much as we want to take them back to their homes we are mindful of their needs and their safety and well being as well so we are looking at options."

Lieutenant-Colonel Seruiratu says tents and tarpaulin are being flown in now.

He says they'll be working with the Ministry of Health to ensure surroundings and homes are sprayed before people return to prevent the outbreak of disease.

The President of the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it could take several weeks before any meaningful level of business resumes in the city.

Dr Ram Raju says it's the worst flood damage the city has ever suffered and most businesses will have to start over as very few have insurance cover.

He says Nadi business stakeholders will be meeting on Monday with government representatives to try and find a way out.

Almost 100 percent of the business houses have lost 100 percent of all their stocks, shop equipment, fixtures, and fittings as well. I think it's a matter of starting from scratch, it's a matter of survival now for some of the business houses.

The President of the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Ram Raju.

It's understood that the Fiji interim government is encouraging people to relocate permanently from areas most prone to flooding, following the second bout of floods to hit the country this year.

Krupesh Patel, the incoming president of the Rotary club of Nadi says rural people in particular will be feeling it badly after being hit in January.

He understands the interim government is encouraging people in the areas most prone to flooding to relocate.

Apparently even the government has stepped in and trying to talk to these people and asking them that there are certain areas where they will really have to move out and relocate themselves so that's another factor that's being looked into right now by the government as well.

Krupesh Patel says it could take some people months to get back into a home and says the Nadi Rotary club will be focussing on the second phase of relief such as providing school supplies for children.