The Honorable Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka was today briefed by the Fiji NDMO and the Fiji Meteorological Service on the current weather situation and the Government’s response to the recent flash flooding event in flood-prone and low-lying areas of Ba.
The briefing was also attended by the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka, Assistant Minister Hon. Jovesa Vocea, Minister for Public Works, Transport and Meteorological Services Hon. Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Mrs. Salaseini Daunabuna, the Divisional Commissioners, and representatives from the relevant agencies of Government.
During the briefing, Acting Director Meteorological Services Mr. Terry Atalifo provided an overview of the weather forecast for the Fiji Group and assured the Hon. Prime Minister that there was “nothing significant” or “severe” forecasted for Fiji. Mr Atalifo also clarified to the meeting that recent flashflooding incidents in the Western Division were a result of poor drainage and the affected areas had been identified as “flood prone” communities.
Fiji NDMO Director Ms. Vasiti Soko confirmed to the briefing that while minimal damage was recorded in the aftermath of the floods in the West, there was only one recorded casualty associated with the heavy rain forecasted for the Fiji Group last week. Ms Soko also informed the Hon. Prime Minister that divisional teams were already on standby for worse case scenarios and prepositioning of Non-Food Items (NFIs) and key strategic assets have also been completed. She also highlighted to the forum that with heavy rain recorded in the last couple of days, the NDMO and teams from the relevant agencies are closely monitoring the possible risks of landslides occurring.
With the Western Division affected the most by the recent adverse weather, Commissioner Western Division Mr. Apolosi Lewaqai assured the forum that Government teams were on standby and Heads of Departments (HODs) of various Government agencies have been frequently meeting to discuss how best they can work together to assist affected communities within the division.
In terms of road infrastructure, Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) chief executive officer Mr. Kamal Prasad confirmed that while minimal damage was recorded in the Western Division, their main concern was unsealed roads, especially with most already heavily saturated as a result of heavy rain in the past few days. Mr Prasad also assured the forum today that FRA would work towards ensuring that all maintenance of damaged roads would be completed before the start of the new school year.
Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Jemesa Tudravu also provided an update on the Health Ministry’s response and plans for the current cyclone season. He highlighted that the Ministry has prepositioned adequate medical stock for this cyclone season and is also focusing on increasing awareness of Leptospirosis, Typhoid, Diarrhoea, and Dengue (LTDD). Dr Tudravu also highlighted that the general public should be reminded that we were in the flu season and people must take the necessary precautionary measures.
The different arms of government, particularly in the West have been actively involved in the response to the flooding and will continue to monitor the weather situation and provide assistance where necessary.