UN stands ready to assist after severe floods inundate Fiji

13 January 2009
Part of Nausori areas in Fiji under floodwaters

United Nations agencies are standing by to provide assistance to Fiji where heavy rains over recent days have caused severe flooding in the Pacific island nation, causing at least seven deaths and the evacuation of over 6,500 people.

A 30-day state of natural disaster was declared in the Western Division of the country on 11 January, three days after the heavy rains began, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), adding that the floods have also affected the North and Central Divisions.

The National Disaster Management Office reported that seven deaths have been recorded as a direct result of the floods. In addition, 6,591 people have been evacuated and housed in 110 evacuation centres as of yesterday.

Fiji’s Interim Government has not requested international assistance at this time, OCHA noted. However, another tropical depression is expected to bring more rainfall by Wednesday night and Thursday, which may extend and compound the current situation.

OCHA held a UN coordination meeting on 12 January to discuss a possible UN response in case international assistance is requested. The world body and other global organizations are prepared to participate in multi-sector needs assessments if required, the Office added.

Several UN agencies including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have relief items which can be deployed on request.


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