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Natural Disaster

Fiji braces for approaching Tropical Depression

January 16, 2020 5:43 pm
The Vunaniu flats along Queens Road is underwater. [Source: FRA]

Different arms of government are preparing for the approaching Tropical Depression which is likely to form into a Tropical Cyclone in less than 24 hours.

Director Meteorological Service Misaele Funaki briefed Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and other senior government officials earlier today that this system is expected to intensify and become a category 1 Tropical Cyclone in 12 to 18 hours.


Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the briefing [Source: Fijian Government]

Tropical Depression 04F is moving east at about 10km/hr.

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At midday, TD04F was located about 410km west-northwest of Rotuma and about 800km north-northwest of Nadi.

Funaki says the system has also changed its track from eastwards to south-east moving closer to the Fiji Group.

On this forecast track, the centre is expected to be located about 170km north-northwest of Labasa at 12pm tomorrow and 200km southeast of Labasa or about 75km northwest of Lakeba at 12am on Saturday.

Close to its centre TD04F is expected to have average winds of up to 45km/hr with momentary gusts to 80km/hr.

A Tropical Cyclone warning remains in force for Rotuma while a Tropical Cyclone Alert is in force for Fiji Group.

Funaki says the concern is that there will be heavy rainfall in many places and flash flooding of low-lying areas.

National Disaster Management Office Director Vasiti Soko says they continue to coordinate with Divisional Commissioners on the state of preparedness and early warnings.

Soko highlighted the likely impacted area of a 50km buffer for Vanua Levu and parts of Viti Levu, includes total 18 airports, 871 bridges, 1294 evacuation centers, 18 EFL power stations, 12 fire stations, 131 health centers, 215 hotels, 45 jetties, 54 police stations, 1141 schools, 156 water reservoirs and a total of 847 villages.

She added they have made arrangements in blackout areas like Saqani, Tukavesi and Taveuni in terms of communications where teams have been sent on the ground to give updates via other modes of communication rather than mobile.

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