Fiji extends state of natural disaster for 20 more days

Fijian authorities, this week, extended for another 20 days the Declaration of a State of Natural Disaster in force for the North of Fiji.

National Disaster Management Office Director Vasiti Soko said the extension, effective Monday 15 February 15 reflected the severity of the plight faced by Fijians in the North after being struck by two disasters in less than two months.

“As we all know, TC Ana had hit us in the midst of our response operation and recovery period for Fijians still reeling from the impact of TC Yasa. As a result, Government deemed it necessary that we extend the Declaration for a State of Natural Disaster for a further period of 20 days for the Northern Division to allow the continuation of life-saving assistance and early recovery efforts to severely affected communities,” Soko said.

This extension comes at the expiry of the 30-day extension of the Declaration for the Northern Division over the weekend. The last extension for the North came into effect on 15 January to allow Government to efficiently and effectively plan and coordinate the response phases for Tropical Cyclone Yasa. Sixteen days into the extension period, Fiji was hit by Tropical Cyclone Ana.

A category 2 cyclone, TC Ana brought a lot of rainfall that caused major flooding and associated hazards including landslides, and caused widespread devastations across all four divisions. The Northern Division which was in the direct path of TC Yasa in December was again severely affected by major flooding during TC Ana.

“Also, damage to critical infrastructures such as roads and jetties were more severe during TC Ana compared to TC Yasa. For TC Ana, a total of 317 Fiji Roads Authority infrastructure was affected compared to 185 for TC Yasa.  The Northern Division was again devastated with flooding and landslips and reconstruction works on most of these infrastructures are still progressing.”

The Fijian Government is also working on restoring essential services in the North.

To date, the government has deployed more than 85,000 emergency food ration packs to affected communities across the country, and pushed out more than 30,000 Non-Food Items (NFIs) such as shelter kits, and kitchen set among others.

Cabinet approved the extension in accordance with Section 17 of the Natural Disaster Management Act 1998 and on the advice of the Emergency Committee.

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