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28 Dec 2019 | 01:06 AM UTC

Fiji: Several thousand evacuated due to Tropical Cyclone Sarai December 28 /update 2

At least 1970 people evacuated as of December 28 due to Tropical Cyclone Sarai; heavy rain, damaging winds and flash floods expected

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Event

The Fijian National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) announced at 14:30 (local time) on Saturday, December 28, that 1970 people were evacuated across 48 centers nationwide as of 10:00 due to the passage of Tropical Cyclone Sarai since Thursday, December 26. The NDMO also said that search and rescue operations are ongoing; while they did not immediately announce any injuries, one man is missing in Vunidawa district (Naitasiri province). 

Fiji Airways and Fiji Link confirmed at 15:00 on Saturday that most of their services will resume on Sunday, December 29. 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. 

The Fiji Meteorology Service (FMS) has issued storm, gale, heavy rain, and flood warnings across several islands - particularly in low-lying areas and areas adjacent to rivers. As of 16:00 (local time) on Saturday, Sarai was located at approximately 20.0°S 177.7°E (map here) and moving east-southeast at a speed of 15 kph (9 mph) with 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.

Advice

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.