Monday, April 30, 2012

tourists and handcrafts

from w Today's Fiji Times includes an article about a handcrafts shop in Labasa selling touristy items - so far brought up from Viti Levu but the plan is for the women of Vanua Levu to make items in the future. Okay, but what kind of things do tourists want to buy. You need to consider weight for one thing, not heavy items as the planes these days have strict rules about overweight luggage - very expensive. And do people really want carvings that are a bit fake anyway? I suggest lightweight items that can be practical as well s look interesting. What do Fijians really think is a good cultural gift for a vavalagi? Handicraft shop hopes to boost economy Salaseini Vosamana Tuesday, May 01, 2012
The newly-opened handicraft shop in Labasa. Picture: SALASEINI VOSAMANA HANDICRAFT makers in Vanua Levu breathed a sigh of relief after the opening of a handicraft shop in Labasa last week. The opening of the first-ever handicraft shop in town means the makers can directly sell their products to timber and blockworks shop instead of having to rely on orders from local buyers. Shop owner Vinesh Dayal said the new shop would not only generate income for handicraft makers but also promote the tourism industry in the Northern Division. "We started on a low profile as we work towards making sure we add value to what the northern economy has to offer in terms of tourism," he said. "At the moment, we are buying our items from Viti Levu but as we proceed we will involve local women and youths so we can purchase their products. We want the northern economy to grow and this is one way we can offer our help." Mr Dayal said a successful business was not only about making money but also fulfilling its innovation and social responsibilities. "At least we are helping the 13 workers and their families as we employ them in this new investment. "We are encouraging the people in Vanua Levu to engage in handicraft making so we don't have to buy such products from Suva," said Mr Dayal. Shop assistant Surendra Prasad said a lot of people had bought items from the shop since it opened.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Poverty in Vanua Levu or not

from w Statistics are often misleading, especially when economists start talking about poverty. Going by a weekly income in cash might not allow for subsistence living - catching your own fish and crabs, planting your own food gardens, making mats from pandanus, giving labour freely or for tucker. So when someone writes that Macuata has many poor people,you have to take that with a grain of salt. I think those in the urban squatter settlements of Suva and Lautoka may be really poor if they can't access a bit of land to plant basic vegetables. In the villages there is a lot of mutual support, working together, sharing resources, often eating together, and sometimes lease money helps with school fees and building projects. Sometimes. Now when you compare this with some statistics from Australia they are saying that a single youth or adult cannot survive in Australia on $250A a week, which is about $500F. Interesting. from today's Fiji Times: Poor north Serelisoni Moceica Tuesday, April 24, 2012 THE Northern Division is the poorest division in the country with 48 per cent of its total population living under the poverty line, a recent report on Fiji children by UNICEF revealed. This meant that 65,261 people in the north earned less than $175 a week for a less than four-member household which is Fiji's Basic Needs Poverty Line, it stated. However, Commissioner Northern Lieutenant Colonel Ilai Moceica said the statistics did not portray a "truthful image" of the poverty situation in the north. "The statistics are in economic terms only. These people have resources aplenty. This is what their livelihoods depend on. They have marine and land resources and the statistics are only in economic terms," Lt-Col Moceica said. The UNICEF report said the province of Cakaudrove had 26,470 people under the poverty line that accounted for 55 per cent of its total population. Statistics showed Bua and Macuata recorded 47 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively, of its population in poverty. The manager of the Northern Development Program, Waisale Tuidama, said 1501 projects had been implemented through the government-funded initiative. "Employment created was 4413 which is 4.7 per cent of the total working population of 92,000. With this employment, we have created a livelihood for some 22,665 people, 6.6 per cent of the total Northern Division population," Mr Tuidama said. He said the statistics were unfair and incorrect. Lt-Col Moceica said the only problem the division faced was business literacy where the population needed to be taught on how to maintain their resources and use them for their benefits. "We want the rural people to drive the rural economy," he said. The Fiji Bureau of Statistics stated an increase in rural poverty from the period 2002 to 2009. "While poverty in urban areas dropped dramatically from 28 to 18 per cent over this period, poverty in rural areas increased from 40 to 43 per cent," the bureau stated. The Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics said the high incidence of rural poverty was a result of rural to urban migration from expiring land leases and an increase in squatter and informal population. The ministry recorded 45,000 people in 1999 to 125,000 people in 2011 living in those crowded areas.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lost my editing ability for posts

So what has happened to blogspot? It has changed to very basic. Later: okay, it seems that everyone has to work this one out. And how do you put some words at the bottom briefly naming the topic of the post?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shelter Boxes

from w New Zealand and Australian Rotary have been assisting in the flood disaster reconstruction by donating goods especially Shelter Boxes which provides a tent and a box of specially prepared necessities. Hare are some recent pictures of New Zealand Rotary in action.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ready for the Olympic Games

from w Good luck to Leslie Copeland who has a good chance of representing Fiji with the javelin event. He already can throw 80 metres. From PINA news:
Copeland quits job 100 days from Olympics By Online Editor 1:23 pm GMT+12, 19/04/2012, Fiji Leslie Copeland Fiji’s javelin Olympic Games qualifier- Leslie Copeland has quit his job five days shot of his 24th birthday to concentrate on becoming the first Fijian to reach the final in his discipline at the 30th Olympic Games. “I resigned yesterday (Tuesday) to concentrate fulltime on reaching the final cut in London,” said the Erasito Consultants technician. “With 100 days to go, the reality dawned on me yesterday that I need to focus. I can’t continue to work and then train.” Copeland was part of the Fiji Olympic team hosted to a lunch by the Acting British High Commissioner –Martin Fidler at the his residence in Suva to commemorate the occasion of the ‘100 days to go to the London 2012 Olympics’. “See, here in Fiji no one has gone past the second round at the Olympics except for Tony Philip Junior in sailing in the 80s, but apart from that no one has gone past the second,” said Copeland. The London Olympic Games will be the first for the soft-speaking thrower who has been representing Fiji at 16. His father is of Kiribati descent and mum from Waisomo in Naitasiri turns 24 on Monday. “To get to the final I have to throw 82 metres which is the automatic qualifier to get to the finals. I qualified with 80 last year that means I need proper preparation from now until the Games.” Copeland is probably one of the few athletes to be training out of Fiji and one of his biggest tests will be next month at an international competition of top javelin throwers in South Korea. He realises the odds are stacked against him being an athlete from a small island country with limited resources and technical backing as compared to the more affluent countries. “For us at home, it is a challenge every day. We got only one track and in May, they’ll strip and I’ll have to find a new place to train,” he said giggling. “So imagine all those kind of stuff. We have only one track in Fiji where I mean soccer, rugby everybody shares the track. If rugby is playing I can’t train. That’s the reality of training in Fiji. “But despite that I hope me and James (Goulding- coach) can get up to that distance before the Olympic Games.” The javelin thrower and his coach hope to move to Germany after Korea as they get closer to the London 2012 Olympics. Copeland has been given an International Olympic Committee scholarship for Olympic Games preparation and they hope their sponsor ‘Red Bull’ will also be able to get them to the much needed competition and facilities prior to the Games. “Everything we need, we need money. If we have money we can train better. We can go to anywhere we want to train. We can go to more competitions and we can change our diet and have proper food, you know and I can wake up and not worry about catching the bus,” Copeland said laughing. He said that the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) have also chipped in with funds to assist. Ironically his email address is Asked on how he got this email address, Copeland replied “I mean in Fiji you don’t to be a millionaire to be happy, you can survive without money. You know in Fiji- money or no money we can still be happy.”. SOURCE:PACNEWS

Missionaries in Papua New Guinea

from w
Yesterday we had some interesting visitors on their way back to Fiji after eight years working in Papua New Guinea as missionaries for the Fiji Christian Fellowship church. Joeli Ratusala, his wife Sulueti and two girls Lydia and Una. They worked in the village of Tukubai in the East New Britain Province and their nearest town was Kokopo. The children told us that they spoke Pidgen English in their primary school though English is taught in Grade 4. Thank you Joji and Meci for bringing your friends down to visit us in Geelong.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sisters are doing it for others

from w
It's good to see the women of Labasa collecting items to help the women of Western Viti Levu affected by the floods. It must be really awful to have their homes wrecked by the deluge of water and many things damaged or lost. Vina'a va'alevu to the kind donors, thinking of others.
from the Fiji Times today:

Friendly people of north help affected westerners
Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A HIGH response has been received from the community of the friendly north for gifts to flood victims in the west. Headed by the Labasa women and youth flood appeal, the response has seen civil servants, companies and even housewives collect household items for the women whose lives were shattered by the devastating flood.

Group leader Arieta Moceica has labelled the response as positive.

"So many responses have been received and interest have come in from housewives who have started collecting household items for our sisters in the west," Ms Moceica said. "It is not easy for a housewife who does not earn money to buy things for herself because even if she receives money, she will think of her family first and won't buy anything for herself," she said. "So the items we are collecting are clothes, perfumes, cooking utensils, undergarments, buckets, mops, brooms, scrubbing brush and anything else that will help housewives rebuild their homes," she added.

Ms Moceica said most of the companies and civil servants had decided to have their own point of collection to make it easier for their employees. "Next week Friday, all the donated items will be brought to Civic Centre which is the main area of collection and we will then hand it over to the Labasa special administrator (Vijay Chand) and the Commissioner Northern (Lieutenant Colonel Ilai Moceica)."

She says they are thinking of their sisters who are in problem. "We are thinking of our sisters and youths who have been affected in the west and we hope the donations from everyone in Labasa will help make a difference as they rebuild their lives," Mrs Moceica said.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

picnic near Labasa

from w
Some of the children from Vatuadova and family from Australia had a boat ride along the coast of Macuata to look at the suggested site for the new port of entry for Labasa. Malau is already a busy port for sugar and timber. Here are some of the photos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter photos from Vatuadova

from w
One of the Vatuadova girls took photos of their church and lunch on the verandah of one of the pink-painted houses. Vina'a va'alevu. Here are some of their pictures. Notice the smart white costumes, despite the rain and mud.

Flood came from inland

from w
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.

Inland tsunami

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.


Monday, April 09, 2012

This generation

from w
Some apt advice about taking responsibility, not just criticizing or praising or ignoring , but doing the hard work of helping Fiji at this time though I don't know who Gaby Atama is. A friend on facebook posted this:

"In God's timeline for the universe our generation was chosen to exist in this time. It is our responsibility to shape our world, i don't see a better time as this where we can put in our contribution in the public consultations for the formulation of the new constitution. with the technology available and the network of friends available we have the advantage of influencing our world. whatever little input comes from us makes a big difference, most of us have been brought up in urban and village settings and now settle locally and overseas with wealth of knowledge and life experiences. Isn't this a good basis of projecting for a better Fiji? Let's not miss this opportunity!!! sometimes or regret is not in what we do but in what we did not do." God is counting on us." Gaby Atama

Commissioner Western

Vina'a va'alevu to the Commissioner Western for the job done during the recent floods Lautoka/Nadi/Rakiraki side of Viti Levu. Here are some comments from a blog about his task, well done.

by fijitoday
Praise where it is due.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki deserves praise for his actions in the response to the recent floods.

I had the privilege to be present when he lost his temper with a collection of government officials that were causing the normal bureaucratic holdup in the aid. He told them to ignore all the rules and concentrate on getting the aid to those who they served.

He told them that anyone he found causing an obstruction to the aid would be dealt with severely.

While in normal times this might seem overly authoritarian he is operating under a declared emergency so has full control.

He has been working long hard hours and looks very ragged and tired.

He is the right man in the right job and deserves our praise and support.
Peter Firkin

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The kindness of strangers

from w
Though we all are appalled by the destruction of the recent floods in Fiji, one thing comes from these times of chaos and loss, that is the generosity and compassion of people who are strangers as well as kin. Here is a letter to the editor of the Fiji Times that tells such a story:

Act of love

MY cousin who lives in Nadi was in Suva on Good Friday. His home in Nadi was underwater up to the ceiling and he was thinking about all that he had lost.

During the church service the pastor's sermon was about giving and caring and he related this to the floods and that many people in Suva were not affected at all and that they could give to a worthy cause.

And then the pastor thanked the congregation for what they had collected. My cousin found out the items were bed linens, kitchenware, shoes, clothes of all sizes and types, school supplies, school bags and there were even a few kitchen sinks.

He was overwhelmed by the generosity of the people that he broke down and with tears in his eyes he went around to all the members of the church and hugged and shook their hands.

Many of them were surprised by this. It takes a lot for my cousin to breakdown and cry because he is as tough as nails.

He was thinking of all the people in the cane belt, villages and settlements who had lost everything and the families who had lost loved ones. Especially a second time just when they were picking up the pieces.

What made him breakdown was the fact that the people who had given so generously are strangers to him and the people of the West.

Of course there will be family connections, but the majority didn't know who would get what they had sent and they had just collected and given without thinking about ethnicity or religion or whatever.

He knew that Liga Gukisuva of Vodafone Fiji had conducted a house to house collection and this finally broke his heart and he wept.

He wishes to thank every soul in Fiji and organisation, social and church group for the kindness they have shown. This is Fiji at its best.

While we are all Fijians and related in so many ways, I call the overwhelming generosity the kindness of strangers.

From our family to all the families in Suva, a big vinaka vakalevu and may

God bless you all abundantly.

Allen Lockington

Should Lautoka be the capital of Fiji?

Picture is of children at an evacuation centre after the floodsfrom w
There's an interesting proposition floating in Fiji Exiles Board that Nadi businesses ought to relocate in Lautoka and even make the West city the prime city of Fiji. It makes a bit of sense - better weather for a start! One writer says:

I think business from Nadi and Ba atleast should consider relocating to Lautoka. Lautoka city itself is not subject to floods.

That would make Lautoka a very big and vibrant place. They should then make Lautoka the capital of Fiji. It only makes sense as the bulk of the economy, tourism and sugar are based in the West. It is only a 20 min drive to the airport. All headquarters of of the major government services should also be relocated to Lautoka. The location of Suva as the capital does not make sense. It is in the wrong end of the country. Common sense tells me the economy will boom just because the capital and centre of decision making will be located in the right place. As for Parliament...we do not need one.

Nadi businesses consider relocating April 07, 2012 01:54:07 PM A+ A-

Most Nadi businesses are now thinking about relocating, says Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dr Ram Raju. Dr Raju said the recent severe flooding had caused big losses and some businesses are just trying to survive. He said a few shops are open while others are trying to get repairs and cleaning up done. The tourist town is expect to fully open by mid next week. By Mereani Gonedua

Read more at:
Copyright 2012 ©

Friday, April 06, 2012

A different take on the week of floods

from w
Here's a perceptive letter to the editor of the Fiji Times:
Floods and values

There is no power so the TV doesn't work (if we still had one), so we have spent the last week actually talking. For those of you who have forgotten what it is like to sit around a candle and actually listen to your wives and husbands , your fathers and kids, your friends, even yourself รน you'd be amazed at how very interesting they have all suddenly become. No internet at night means conversation has become the alternative to broadband. Suddenly we are really smiling from deep inside again amidst piles of wet things. I am generally an optimist but it is so good to see people reaching out to help each other without motive or agenda.

Until iPhone comes out with an application that helps your phone find dry land by itself, I am starting to see through the inconvenience of our circumstances to the "wake up" call it represents (at least to me and mine). I love my wife. I love my life. I love the people of Fiji for their sense of community and humanism. God bless you all (and maybe even throw you a towel if you need one).


Monday, April 02, 2012

Earth Hour in Labasa

from w
This story from Labasa about turning off the lights for an hour is rather ironic really because most of Suva and surrounds just lost their electricity for days because a tower tumbled down. Many, many times electricity goes off in parts of Fiji and of course in the Western side of Viti Levu with the massive floods many of the utilities are in chaos - clean water, electricity and so on. Anyway, it was a nice thing to do at St Mary's School in Labasa. Of course there was a time when most of the rural people out of Labasa never ever had electricity. When we lived at Nukutatava we used benzine and kerosene lights only.

Labasa earth hour the first ever
April 2, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

Lights went off for one hour at Saint Mary’s Primary School in Labasa as everyone present observed earth hour on Saturday night.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) national project coordinator for the Earth hour programme Monifa Fiu said this was the first earth hour programme in the North.

“Please let the lights burn for those affected in Ba, Lautoka, Sigatoka, Nadi, to all our relatives and friends who are being affected by this weather.”

“Consider this our action and mission to change the planet for a better future. I would like to acknowledge our National Fire Authority, business stake holders and all here.”

Also partnering with WWF at the Earth Hour was Jessi Computers. Jessi Computers Earth Hour organiser Aaron Singh said this year, with a few friends and a number of corporate sponsors, the first Labasa earth hour has been witnessed.

He said all participating were asked to bring their own candles with them but light refreshments were prepared.

“This was a family oriented event and a chance for the local community to get together for a common cause. Whether it is turning off lights when not in use or opening windows instead of using air-conditioning, we can all make a difference.” He said the initiative would show everyone, for the first time in Labasa, from children to chief executives and politicians, that everyone has the power to change the world we live in.

cyclone track below Fiji

from the Fiji Meteorological office: Looks like the cyclone hasn't hit Viti Levu which is better news. Raining though I suppose.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

The meaning of Hosana

from w
Yesterday was Palm Sunday for most Christians throughout the world and in Fiji it is also Children's Sunday with the children dressed in white reciting their memory verses, preaching, praying, singing. A lovely time. However this year for many the families wre advised to stay safely in their homes because of so much flooding throughout Fiji. Here's one story from Fiji Sun and I found some pictures from various places. Yesterday at the Colac Uniting Church where Peceli led the worship, I gave a small children's time talk about Fiji Children's Sunday. By the way the word 'Hosana' in its original meaning is not 'Praise' or 'Hoorah' but actually 'Deliver us' or 'Save us please' in the Hebrew. Very relevant for poor Fiji these days.

Children unlucky on Palm Sunday
April 2, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

Talei Niunitoga, 1, during Palm Sunday service at Rt Ifereimi Kubukasa Memorial Church at Kalabu yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR.By SITERI SAUVAKACOLO

Children in the wider Tavua circuit counted themselves unlucky because they were unable to celebrate the one special Sunday they look forward to every year, Palm Sunday, yesterday. While children in other parts of the country enjoyed the special church service along with their family members, Tavua children could do nothing at home or in evacuation centers.

This was because a call was made by the circuit superintendent, Reverend Osea Tunidau, to cancel church services because of the current flooding affecting most parts of the Western Division. “We had planned for each individual family to have their own service in their own homes, including those in the evacuation centers to commemorate this special day,” Rev. Tunidau said. “It is indeed sad to see these children missing this special day but we couldn’t do much and we had to cancel it because of the bad weather. We are planning to have a special church service after this flood where our children can all take part as they have been practicing long enough to take part today (yesterday).”

Rev. Tunidau said more than 200 children from the Tavua circuit have been affected by the flood and could not take part in the Palm Sunday services yesterday.
Some parts of Naitasiri as well as the Ba and the Ra province could not hold their Palm Sunday service because of floods in their area. Plans have been put in place to have it once their life returned to normalcy so as to avoid disappointment by their children who have been looking forward to this special day.

However, churches in the capital, Suva, continued to record full attendance despite continuous rain. At Wakanisila Methodist Church, in Kalabu, just outside Suva, the congregation crowded into the church and watched as their children led the service while the young ones, as young as three years old, recited Bible verses.

Palm Sunday also marks the week before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is commemorated, and will end on Easter Sunday, which is next week.

Update cyclone approaching Nadi

from w
Isa Fiji, what a terrible time Fiji is having. Here's an update from two news media as a cyclone approaches Nadi today. Our family were sent home twice from Virgin in Melbourne even with boarding passes in their hands. Some planes apparently were going empty to Fiji to pick up stranded tourists but I doubt it any planes can go now. Govt warning from Fiji - no more tourists at present.
from Fiji Village:
Tropical Cyclone Daphne forms to the west of Nadi
Publish date/time: 02/04/2012 [16:13]

The tropical depression to the West South West of Nadi has now formed into a tropical cyclone. The cyclone has been named Daphne by Nadi Weather Office Director, Alipate Waqaicelua.

A gale warning remains in force for Viti Levu, Yasawa and Mamanuca group, Southern Lau group, Kadavu and nearby smaller islands.

A strong wind warning remains in force for the rest of the Fiji group.A severe flood warning remains in force for all major rivers, streams, and low lying areas of Viti Levu.

Tropical Cyclone Daphne was located near 19 decimal 4 South, 171 decimal 7 East or about 635 kilometres West South West of Nadi at midday today. Close to the centre, the depression is expected to have average wind speeds of 55 kilometres per hour. Daphne is moving South East at about 25 kilometres per hour. It is expected to intensify further and people will experience damaging gale force winds over Viti Levu, Yasawa and Mamanuca group, Southern Lau group, Kadavu and nearby smaller islands from later today into tonight although Daphne will not make landfall over Fiji. The most noticeable effect soon will be the strengthening of winds over Western Fiji.

Heavy rain is expected as we go into tonight so please be prepared for that. Prolonged rain is expected from tonight to about midday tomorrow due to the amount of rain bands associated with the system.

There is a very high possibility of heavy rain pushing rivers above the flood levels again.

You have to take necessary precautions now and please do not leave it to the last minute and act when the flood waters have reached your doorsteps. Make an assessment in you are living in flood prone areas and take action now.

Severe flooding of major rivers, streams and low lying areas including sea flooding of low lying coastal areas is expected later today and tonight.

Nadi Weather Office Director Alipate Waqaicelua looked at the weather system in the last hour and he said there are many rain bands over many parts of Fiji will result in a lot of rain this afternoon. You need to also get ready for gale force winds from this afternoon.

Waqaicelua said the people in the Western division need to be prepared now as they will record levels of rain going into tonight. There is also a need to monitor the levels at Vaturu Dam.
Story by: Fijivillage Team
From AFP

NADI: Fiji struggled to cope Monday with devastating floods that have brought the country to a standstill with warnings that it could get worse as an incoming storm threatens to become a cyclone. A state of emergency was declared in the South Pacific nation on Sunday as flash floods claimed at least three lives and forced 8,000 people to seek refuge in evacuation centres.

Fiji has “had a bashing”, permanent secretary of information Sharon Smith Johns said, with water and power supplies cut in most areas and many roads closed.
“Regardless of whether we get a cyclone or not, we could get hit with more rain and more flooding,” she told Radio Australia.

Meteorologists have warned a tropical depression is forming which could turn into a cyclone, and Nadi Weather Office director Alipate Waqaicelua issued a fresh heavy rain warning.

“We are going to get further rain, more heavy rain from this system,” he said.
As the weather brought the island nation to a halt, cutting road access and isolating communities, holiday resorts struggled to cope with the Fiji government asking airlines not to fly in passengers until further notice.

International flights were arriving empty to take stranded visitors out of a country heavily reliant on its tourist industry.

“This is very bad for Fiji, it will take a long time to fix up and get the tourists back,” taxi driver Mohammad Yakub said as he surveyed the devastation.

He said his family was surviving on tinned food as all the crops in his small plot of land had been destroyed and his local market was unlikely to reopen for weeks.
“I don’t know what people will eat. They will have to bring food in soon,” he said.
Although Fiji has not called for international assistance, Australia and New Zealand said they were ready to help.

The regional powers have had a fractured relationship with Fiji since naval officer Voreque Bainimarama seized control in a 2006 military coup.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said they would work with non-government agencies rather than Bainimarama’s regime.

“Typically what we’ve done in the past is give the resources to a non-government organisation on the ground we trust, say the Red Cross, rather than give it to the government to administer,” he told Radio Live.

“Yes, we disagree with the formation of that government through force but we have a long history with Fiji, we love their people and we are going to support them.”
When some roads reopened in a respite from the rain Monday morning, fleets of minibuses headed out to pick up tourists stranded at resorts which were reported to be running low on food supplies.

About 2,000 Australian and New Zealand holidaymakers are estimated to be waiting for flights out. - AFP

Read more: Cyclone feared in flood-ravaged Fiji - Latest - New Straits Times

Isa, a third flood for the summer

from w
We came back from a beautiful weekend in Colac where Peceli and I spent a day and a half in pastoral visiting and then leading worship for Palm Sunday today, the people there lovely with their hospitality and stories. Then we read the Fiji news with the stories and photos of devastation once again on the western side of Viti levu such as in Nadi and Ba. Also our family's travel plans have been messed up with planes cancelling flights into Fiji etc. It's so sad that floods just happen time and time again. Some people have made mistakes with infrastructure around Nadi, that diverts the water into torrests through the township. Perhaps Denarau designers? Anyway here are some photos of what has happened in the past two days.