Fiji on high alert for another cyclone

SUVA — Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Friday urged Fijians to be on high alert and adhere to advice from authorities as they prepare for more severe weather and a cyclone over the next few days.

In a national address to Fijians on Friday, Bainimarama issued the warning as weather projections indicated a new cyclone was forming to the west of Fiji, posing another serious threat to the Fijian people and economy just a week after Tropical Cyclone Josie battered the island nation that caused six deaths over the weekend.

Due to changing weather patterns, storms are becoming more frequent and severe, and it’s vitally important to be prepared, he said, adding that these are very trying times for Fijians.

Another flood warning is now in force for the low lying areas, small streams and areas in the western part of the island nation as an active trough of low pressure with associated cloud and rain is slowly moving over Fiji while Tropical Disturbance 13F was spotted to the far northwest of Fiji on Friday.

It is expected to develop into a Tropical Depression by Saturday and possibly intensify further into a Tropical Cyclone as it moves towards Fiji.

An estimated 100,000 Fijians were affected by the pervasive flooding in the western part of the nation as a result of Tropical Cyclone Josie in the weekend.

Clean-up crews and emergency teams are working around the clock to remove debris, and more than 1,700 evacuees are able to return to their homes this week.

Schools in Fiji’s western part remained closed on Friday and so were schools in the northern part.

Korotari Advisory Councilor Satish Chand said floods in the northern part hit at a time when farmers were cultivating their land and preparing their seedlings for planting.

The northern part of the nation has 10 evacuation centers in operation with a total of 490 evacuees.