Thursday 05 April 2012
ShelterBox Response Team assessing need in Fiji
Response Team member Sally Fletcher (NZ) assessing the need for emergency shelter in flood-hit Fiji, April 2012.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) carrying out a needs assessment in Fiji has found that affected communities are cut off by high floodwaters. The flooding has caused extensive damage to roads and bridges making aid delivery conditions challenging.
There is widespread damage to infrastructure in the western part of the south pacific island where thousands of families have been made homeless.
The main cities Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, Tavua, Ba and Rakiraki are the worst hit areas and have been flooded by up to two metres of water in places.
SRT members Lyndon Tamblyn (NZ) and Sally Fletcher (NZ) have had logistical support from local Rotary and Fiji's disaster management agency DISMAC, including local knowledge of the affected area and transport.
Sally at one of the many roads in Fiji submerged underwater by the floodwaters, April 2012.
'We have been working closely with Rotarians here and also DISMAC to assess the need for emergency humanitarian aid,' said Sally. 'But although we are in a 4x4 truck, we still cannot reach some communities as some roads are still completely submerged underwater preventing us from crossing. As the waters begin to recede, we will be returning to these areas. Tomorrow we are heading further north to see what the situation is like in communities up there.'
DISMAC director Pajiliai Dobui said to reporters: 'If people in these areas have boats, we're asking them to make them available, as the little we have is not enough.'
Although Cyclone Daphne has passed Fiji, more rain is expected over the next few days.
ShelterBoxes are en route to the flood-stricken country from prepositioned stock in New Zealand's capital Wellington.