As some were saying the floods in Nadi area didn't rise inch by inch but was like a tidal wave, several feet of water rushed through villages within an hour. That's the story from Nawaka village from our friends and relatives where only three buildings did not have great trouble.
The blame is not only on the monstrous amount of rain but on the rush of water from the inland. Was the dam overflowing or was some water released, some people are wondering. Here is a good letter from a writer from Nadi that was published in the Fiji Times today.
Coping through the floods
I have not been able to send my saqamoli piece to this column recently because I have been stressed out cleaning up after the flood, make that floods to be precise.
Just when everyone was admiring a job well done in returning most things to pre-flood condition, another flood hits.
On a positive note though, our home looks cleaner and spacious now than ever. Many shelves and corner stands are now rid of the useless sentimental stuff that our good ladies are so good at preserving, and we never knew existed; old newspapers, dusty books, magazines, pots, pans, containers, clothing, curtains, shoes, mats, etc. Amazing, they are gone and we are still surviving.
Our area is flood-free, supposedly, so to have waist-deep water in the house in less than one hour made me wonder if it really took that long, 40 days of rainfall, to produce the biblical flood which destroyed the world save Noah, his family and some animals in the ark.
Talking about the number 40, we might as well start counting how many more floods we have to endure before the transitional rain goes away and we welcome the traditional dry season from June to September.
As we are beginning to find out, there is more to the flood than rainfall and poorly structured waterways alone. Spring tide sounds gentle and is supposed to be a harmless natural event, but where the water table is already high, it is causing flash floods in coastal lowlands.
Reflecting on what our island country is going through and how we can mitigate the effects of climate change, we can start by replacing spring tide with giant tide and rainy season with monsoon season to underline the severity of these climatic phenomenon and warn our people to be better prepared.
Knowing that tsunamis develop out at sea, we the flood victims in Nadi may sound absurd for harping about inland or upland tsunamis, but when there are lakes of water stored somewhere up in the highlands, we have every reason to be wary.