Heavy rains have swept across the bulk of Fiji triggering flooding as an active trough of low pressure began to envelop the islands on Friday. This prompted authorities to suspend lessons at schools.
Weather conditions are likely to worsen in the coming days, the Fiji Meteorological Service has warned, adding that roads and settlements in low-lying areas could be flooded. The authority also said that infrastructure near riverbanks could be damaged and significant disruptions to traffic flow and transport routes could ensue.
Schools across the Pacific island country have been told to close on Friday owing to the adverse weather condition. This decision was made by the National Disaster Management Office and the Ministry of Education.
“This decision was solely done for the safety of our children . The safety of all civil servants is also paramount. Upon consultation with the active permanent secretary for civil service, non-essential civil servants are encouraged to seek permission from their supervisors for earlier release. This is to allow them to prepare their families, communities and properties for the impending adverse weather,” said Vasiti Soko, director of the office.
Riverbanks burst in a number of places and washed out several roads, the office said and called on people living in coastal and flood-prone areas to move to evacuation centers.
“With continuous rainfall recorded in the last couple of days, the soil will be saturated, therefore the risk of landslides occurring remains. Strong winds with rough to very rough seas are expected over Fiji waters,” said the director.
With abnormally high tides expected between February 18 and 21, the Fiji Meteorological Service also issued an inundation alert for some coastal areas. The tides may lead to sea flooding in the southern parts of the country.