Islands are in ‘fight for survival’

Wednesday April 04, 2018 Written by Published in Regional

FIJI – Fiji’s prime minister has said the Pacific island nation is in “a fight for survival” as climate change brings “almost constant” deadly cyclones to Pacific islands.

 

Frank Bainimarama said Fiji had entered a “frightening new era” of extreme weather that needed to be confronted.

His comments came after Cyclone Josie caused deaths and flooding on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, at the weekend.

In 2016, a cyclone hit Fiji leaving 44 people dead and wiping out one-third of the nation’s economic production.

Four people have died and one person is still missing in severe flooding caused by torrential rain associated with the cyclone.

“We are now at an almost constant level of threat from these extreme weather events,” Bainimarama said on Tuesday, adding that powerful cyclones in the Pacific region were becoming “more severe” as a result of climate change.

“We need to get the message out loud and clear to the entire world about the absolute need to confront this crisis head on,” he said.

“As a nation we are starting to build our resilience in response to the frightening new era that is upon us,” he added.

Last November, Bainimarama took a leading role at the UN’s Climate Conference in the German city of Bonn.

The clean up and distribution of aid is underway in Fiji  as schools in worst affected areas remain closed.

The western half of the main island Viti Levu was worst hit by widespread flooding.

The Fiji government has distributed emergency food and is hoping for fine weather in the coming days to assist in the clear up, although a heavy rain alert remains in force.

Nadi houses the most evacuees, with 471 people making use of eight evacuation centres in the town.

The National Disaster Office said it was working hard to restore power and water.

Most roads are now back in use, but some still have debris to be cleared or damage that needs repairing. - PNC sources

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