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28 Dec 2019 | 10:29 PM UTC

Fiji: Two fatalities reported amid Tropical Cyclone Sarai December 29 /update 3

At least two people have died as of December 29, due to Tropical Cyclone Sarai; heavy rain, damaging winds and flash floods expected



The Fijian National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) confirmed one fatality, while local media outlets reported a second fatality in the afternoon (local time) on Sunday, December 29, due to Tropical Cyclone Sarai. The NDMO also confirmed at 08:00 on Sunday that 2538 people were evacuated across 70 evacuation centers. Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing. Fiji Airways and Fiji Link confirmed at 15:00 on Saturday, December 28, that most of their services will resume on Sunday. Passengers whose flights were canceled due to Sarai will be rebooked on the next available flight. However, airline officials also said that flights to and from Kadavu's Vunisea Airport (KDV) remain canceled. Further flight disruptions are to be expected across the islands in the coming hours and days. Several roads are closed due to fallen debris, and local media outlets have also reported power and communications disruptions - particularly in Viti Levu

While Sarai is not expected to make landfall in Fiji, the Fijian Meteorological Service (FMS) has issued weather warnings at 15:00 on Sunday for several islands. A storm warning remains in place for Vatulele, Kadavu, Matuku, Moala, and Totoya. Meanwhile, gale and heavy rain warnings are in force for most of the Fiji Group, in particular Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Viti Levu, Lomaiviti and rest of the Lau Group, and nearby smaller islands. Flash flood warnings remain in force for low lying areas, small streams and areas adjacent to major rivers.

As of 14:15 on Sunday, Sarai was located at approximately 20.0°S 179.2°E (map here) and moving southeast at a speed of 16 kph (10 mph) with average winds up to 110 kph (68 mph). Associated flooding, landslides, transportation and business disruptions are anticipated, as well as disruptions to power and communication services, in the coming hours and days.


Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions and flight status before setting out, contact your airline for more information, anticipate transportation and business disruptions, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters; 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult.