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[Public Domain] 14 Jan 2009 Dylan O'Donnell
CATEGORY : Weather
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Fiji has just had 2 days of heavy unabated rain and the biggest flood in living memory. The area has been declared a disaster zone. There is no electricity, clean water etc and there is a 6pm curfew to reduce looting in the streets.
Thankfully, a Fijian worker at the resort we are staying had overheard the situation we were in, and was himself trying to get a ride to the area to check his own house. He had been stuck on the north islands for several days trying to get a flight in. He filled us in on what was going on and things started to make sense! No taxis would take us there because there was still a large flooded area at a major crossroads between the resort and the airport and traffic had slowed to walking pace due to road damage, overturned truck cartons etc etc.
So he used his personal connections to organize a driver and we all hopped into a regular sedan (!!) to make our way to the resort. What we saw was an amazing portrait of humanity as we slowly drove for 2 hours through the disaster areas. Mud clearly showed the level of the floods on fences and walls and in some points cleared entire first story dwellings. Couches and belongings were hoisted onto roofs and everyone was emptying their houses of their belongings. Televisions, stereos, beds, furniture etc etc all strewn outside and covered in mud, waiting for sun which has not yet returned several days later. Despite it all, the Fijian people are still smiling. Friends on higher ground have taken in many of those who are displaced, and evacuation centers are trying to deal with the rest.
We are told that the current interim government has been slow to respond, and Fijians are generally suspicious of them because of this, and increasing failing diplomacy with other nations from which they now desperately need help.
(Note, in the middle photo you can see the flood level by the mud on the windows)
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