Dry weather briefing

Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama has been briefed on the dry weather conditions affecting most parts by the director National Disaster Management Manasa Tagicakibau.

Mr Tagicakibau told the PM the dry spell was triggered by a potential El Nino that had been hovering and trying to fully develop in the Pacific since four months ago.

The Prime Minister was told that most of the major essential services were being affected including education, agriculture, livestock, immigration, health, sugar, water, electricity and most importantly the various communities around the country.

He was also told that 161 schools had been seriously affected by the dry season but were continuing with classes with the Ministry of Education sending out water tanks where it could.

Mr Tagicakibau said water tanks were being given to schools through the education cluster.

“The Ministry of Health has also activated its cluster to co-ordinate support activities in the health sector. They are also advising the public to practise personal hygiene as diseases may spread when the dry spell is over,” Mr Tagicakibau was quoted as saying in a Department of Information statement.

He said a number of strategies had been put in place by the Ministry of Agriculture, which were expected to lessen the impact of the drought on farmers.

These included the purchase of water pumps, irrigation systems and water tanks for affected farmers across the country.

“They have also mobilised their resources and have provided supplementary feeds to animals to maintain body conditions.”

It was not all bad news though as Mr Bainimarama was told that rainfall experienced over the past days had filled up reservoirs, and replenished water sources and catchments.

The Prime Minister urged those at the briefing to closely monitor the situation, continue to assist those in dire need and to think of long-term plans, which might include the construction of mobile desalination plants.