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Red Cross volunteers on standby to assist

Volunteers and staff from Fiji Red Cross Society are on high alert as heavy rain and flooding affects parts of the country already struggling to recover from Tropical Cyclone Winston. About 80 volunteers are on standby in the North and West of the main island of Viti Levu, which has been battered by wind and […]

Nacanieli Tuilevuka

April 6, 2016 11:42 am

Volunteers and staff from Fiji Red Cross Society are on high alert as heavy rain and flooding affects parts of the country already struggling to recover from Tropical Cyclone Winston.

About 80 volunteers are on standby in the North and West of the main island of Viti Levu, which has been battered by wind and rain for two days. The towns of Nadi and Rakiraki have been without power for two days and are cut off by floodwater, as are many remote villages.

Red cross response on the recent flood affecting Fiji:

  • 24 schools are closed due to the flooding.
  • Once road access is restored, Fiji Red Cross will distribute water purification tablets and water containers to the areas affected by the floods, as well as other emergency aid such as tarpaulins.
  • Fiji Red Cross Lautoka branch has assisted a family whose house burnt down due to an electrical fault. Volunteers have provided the family with clothing, hygiene items,cooking utensils and other emergency aid.
  • It is estimated it could be Friday 8 or Saturday 9 April before some roads reopen.
  • Power has been out to some areas for two days.\
  • The next tropical depression is due to hit Fiji on Tuesday afternoon, bringing strong winds and heavy rain.
  • Fiji Red Cross will work with the Ministry of Health to carry out hygiene promotion to flood affected areas.
  • The public is being advised to boil all drinking water and listen to the radio for weather updates and emergency advice.

Fiji Red Cross Health Coordinator, Marica Kepa said 24 volunteers are waiting at the Red Cross Rakiraki branch office for roads to reopen.

They are very keen to get out and help. As soon as there is road access we will be going house to house in the eight highest-need villages, but we hope to cover more than 100 villages when the weather clears.

We will have one team working from the middle of the island up, and another working from the top of the island down, so we can avoid missing anyone. They’ll be distributing water purification tablets, jerry cans, tarpaulins, shelter toolkits and cooking sets.

Flooding can contaminate water sources and provide a breeding ground for mosquitos. Preventing illness and kerbing the spread of disease will be vital.

The Fiji Red Cross is reminding the public to boil all drinking water, wash all raw food in clean water, wash hands with soap after going to the toilet and before eating, and to practice good hygiene at all social gatherings. People are also being warned to stay out of flooded waterways, to avoid the risk of water-borne diseases, and listen to the radio for the latest weather updates and safety messages.

The volunteers will be reminding communities on the essentials of good hygiene practices. This includes boiling water, washing hands and covering all food and water.

Coordinator of the Fiji Red Cross Western division service centre, Mr. Mohammed Hafiz said the western branches are on alert.

As soon as the situation is safe, we will get out and assess the damage. But it could be Friday, or at worst, Saturday before this will be possible.

Under its emergency response operation to support families affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston, Fiji Red Cross is continuing to distribute emergency aid and supplies to areas not affected by the floods.

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