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Fiji Time: 3:54 AM on Saturday 2 August

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Rain and floods

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

CONTINUOUS rainfall in the Western Division led to widespread flooding of low-lying areas and the closure of 30 roads and half the schools in the region.

Bus services were also disrupted as a result of flooding and landslides, leaving hundreds stranded and struggling to find their way to school and work.

The Fiji Meteorological Service said with rainfall not expected to clear until next week, flash flooding was a serious concern.

"We are urging people to take heed of the heavy rain warning we have issued for Fiji," said acting weather office director Aminiasi Tuidraki.

"Rain is expected to continue for the rest of the week, over the weekend and things should start to clear up sometime next week."

Mr Tuidraki warned that while there could be breaks in the weather for a few hours during the day, there was a very high likelihood of thunderstorms and showers in the afternoons.

"So far we have recorded 60-70 millimetres in 24 hours, which is a lot of rain. If rainfall hits the 70-80mm mark then we will be issuing flood warnings for major rivers. At the moment we have issued flash flood warnings because the ground is saturated with the continuous rainfall that we have experienced and flooding is expected to be localised and in low-lying areas."

Pacific Transport Limited's West manager Jaswant Kumar said bus services to some areas were affected but his organisation was attempting to service routes as far as safely possible.

"Despite the flooding, we are trying to serve the communities in the Western Division by going as far as we possibly can," he said. "This is to enable kids to go to school and workers to travel to and from the city and town centres."

Rakiraki interim special administrator Seini Raiko-Vunivutu said schools in the sugar-producing centre were closed as a precautionary measure after the Nakauvadra River reached critical point.

Likewise, the Ba Municipal Market was also closed yesterday as the river level rose in the morning. The authorities in Nadi are also monitoring waterways in the tourist centre as rain continues in the division.


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