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Fiji Time: 3:36 PM on Thursday 18 September

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Drought persists, regions suffer

Samantha Rina
Thursday, October 21, 2010

How the regions fared:

CENTRAL

DESPITE the rainfall activities experienced in the Central Division last month, the weather office maintains the area has also been in drought.

The Fiji Meteorology Services second drought report to the National Disaster Management Office showed that rain of small amounts were insignificant and had not impact on reducing large rainfall deficits accumulated over the last 20 months.

The Navua-Suva-Nausori-Koronivia corridor was reportedly very dry despite some rain and only received 30 per cent of the average September 2010 rainfall with the same situation in August.

Navua has been in drought for the last three months, Suva the last two months and the Nausori station recently went into drought phase in September.

The rainfall deficiency in the drought period is 513 millimeters, 234mm and 220mm for Navua, Suva and Nausori respectively. These areas require 374mm, 297, and 245mm of rainfall to end this drought which the weather office says is equivalent to about two months of wet season normal rainfall.

EASTERN

Matuku and Lakeba have been in drought for over two months and Vunisea since last month. Rainfall deficit in Matuku is 183mm for September and 201mm of rainfall are required to end the drought.

Lakeba and Vunisea have rainfall deficits of 81mm and 115mm respectively and will need 126mm and 239mm to recover from the drought.

NORTHERN

Savusavu remains in drought for over 10 months.

The FMS report stated that from all observational data collected and in regions where there are recording instruments, Savusavu is the most drought-impacted in the entire Fiji group.

"Not only it has to withstand over 10 months but the rainfall deficiency has reached 1013mm which requires substantial rains to recharge the system. Savusavu is experiencing the fifth worst drought in history."

Seaqaqa formally entered the drought phase last month with a rainfall deficiency of 53mm and would need 111mm or about a month of wet season rainfall to end the drought.

WESTERN

THE drought has continued to intensify unabated, says the Fiji Meteorology Services.

In its second drought report released earlier this month to the National Disaster Management Office, FMS manager climate services division Dr Sushil Sharma said thae major impact of the drought was over the Western Division including the interior and coastal regions from Sigatoka, Momi, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki to the Tailevu areas.

In some places there had been no rainfall in September while other places only had an average of one to five per cent rainfall.

Viwa and Yasawa-i-Rara have been in drought for nine months and have had 653 and 848 millimeters of rainfall deficiency respectively.

"The amount required to break the drought in these two stations is much lower of about 87mm and 76mm of rainfall," he said.

The Sigatoka 'Salad Bowl' and vegetable growing area which had initially fared better than other parts of the Western Division only came into drought in August. But Dr Sharma said the Sigatoka Valley and adjoining areas were confirmed to be in severe drought phases over the last two months.

Majority of the stations in the West, particularly Nadi, received nil to one per cent of its long-term September average rainfall.

"The water supply situation over the Momi, Nawai, Tunalia, Nawaicoba, Uciwai, Lomowai, Namata, Kabisi and Ulucila remain critical because of the hydrological drought situation. No rain has fallen in these areas this month," said Dr Sharma.

He said the drought was not locality-specific and the Western Division was in a very serious water deficit situation.


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