16 Dec 2016

Strong winds, heavy rain cause chaos in Fiji

4:12 pm on 16 December 2016

A tropical depression about 350 kilometres to the west of Fiji has caused major flooding in parts of the country.

The system has brought heavy rain from the Yasawas in the very west to Suva in the east of the country.

A flood alert is in force for low-lying areas and a haevy rain warning is in force for all of Fiji.

On its current trajectory the system will slowly move south between Fiji and Vanuatu.

Flooding in Fiji due to heavy rain

Flooding in Fiji due to heavy rain Photo: Fiji Village

More than a dozen evacuation centres have been opened for people displaced by rising waters.

At least ten families were evacuated in Navosai overnight after flood waters entered their homes.

The force of the flooding is evidenced by various roads being damaged or washed away.

Despite the heavy rain, the Queens and Kings road - Viti Levu's main roads - are reported to be open.

However, teams had been working to clear landlsides on some roads, while some powerlines have fallen due to strong winds.

Fiji's power authority said technicians were looking into the issue and there was no time frame on when power would be restored in the affected areas.

Fiji Village reported the National Emergency Operation Centre confirmed that two evacuation centers had been opened in the central division.

Sheltering from the rain in downtown Nadi, Fiji.

Sheltering from the rain in downtown Nadi, Fiji. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

It was predicted that the depression would intensify into a category one cyclone by midday today but forecasters now say this may not happen for another 18 hours.

The Director of the Meteorology Service Ravin Kumar said TD04F would maintain its intensity as it moved southwest.

He added that the centre of the depression was suspected to remain to the west of Fiji and not across the group.

Flooding in Fiji's west, 15 December 2016.

Flooding in Fiji's west, 15 December 2016. Photo: Supplied

However, a heavy rain warning remains in force for the whole of the Fiji group and this is coupled with a flood alert for low lying areas and flood prone areas.

"A trough of low pressure and active rain bands will continue to affect the country through the weekend, so be prepared for more rain," Mr Kumar said.

The depression comes as Fiji continues the recovery from Cyclone Winston last February, with some communities still living in tents.

Flooding in Qauia village following heavy rain.

Flooding in Qauia village following heavy rain. Photo: Nancy Naqelevuki/Fiji Village

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