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Pray for Fiji

Tevita Vuibau
Sunday, December 16, 2012

ALL we can do now is pray for those in Fiji and pray that the Almighty will keep them safe.

These were the words of the chairman of the Fiji community in Samoa, Jovilisi Suveinakama when contacted yesterday.

When Tropical Cyclone Evan hit Samoa, it was a Category Two cyclone - its strength nowhere near the Category Four monster it now is.

The devastation, destruction and distress it wreaked on our island neighbours was massive.

Mr Suveinakama said they had not expected such force from TC Evan.

"That's what we thought here in Samoa, but my advice for everyone back at home is to get on top of their preparations. Do not underestimate it because that is what we did here in Samoa," he said.

"Get ready for wind and get ready for rain, these will combine and will culminate to have some very devastating effects on Fiji," Mr Suveinakama warned.

He said that Fiji should "leave no stone unturned" in preparing for TC Evan.

When TC Evan made landfall in Samoa, it knocked over trees, broke down power lines and caused floods.

And Mr Suveinakama, who is based in Savalolo, said Fiji should expect the same and more.

He said said TC Evan had knocked out power and water with no time frame given on when the services would return.

"Here the main devastation was the flooding of offices and shops, there is no power so most of the mobile phones are going out and we have no drinking water either," he said.

He further explained that many had lost their homes and some had even lost their loved ones.

"The feeling in the Fijian community is that we should have been better prepared,"Mr Suveinakama said.

A Nadi Weather Office alert issued through the Ministry of Information at 8pm yesterday, reported that the track of Tropical Cyclone Evan had taken a more southerly curve bringing the system closer to the northern and western parts of the Fiji group.

TC Evan was a Category Four system with wind speeds averaging 165 kmph with momentary gusts to 230 kmph.

A Category Four cyclone is defined as extreme and comes with average winds of 210 and up to 250 km per hour, resulting in roofs blown away, as well as extensive damage to doors and windows, possible storm surges up to five meters, low lying escape routes may be cut off. Major damage to lower floors of buildings near the coast can be expected. Land near the coast that is lower than three meters above sea level may be flooded.

According to the Nadi weather report, TC Evan was expected to pass about 400km northeast of Cikobia or 520km northeast of Labasa at 4am today, and expected to be located about 145km northeast of Cikobia and 255km northeast of Labasa at 4pm today.

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