March 30, 2012

Deaths feared as severe storm hits Fiji

Last updated 13:44 30/03/2012

LATEST: A severe storm is causing massive disruption across Fiji and there are mounting fears of a big death toll.

The major towns of Nadi, Sigatoka and Rakiraki are under water and news websites report dozens of people are trapped in the fast rising waters.

A severe tropical depression brewed up last night south west of Fiji and there are concerns it will turn later today into a significant tropical cyclone.

Fiji has not yet recovered from a severe January storm which killed eight people and caused millions of dollars in damage.

The Fiji Meteorological Service says the western half of Viti Levu, Yasawa and Mamanuca groups, Kadavu and nearby smaller islands are being hit.

Fijivillage reports that a curfew has been imposed in Ba as rescue operations are launched to free people trapped in rapidly rising waters.

Fijivillage reported that ''10 people are now holding on to a branch of a tree in Elevuka Ba''.

Firefighters are trying to rescue dozens of others.

In Nadi – the home base for the tourist industry, people are trapped in trees.

A bus is fully submerged. No one knows what has happened to the occupants.

Air New Zealand has cancelled its flight to Nadi this afternoon. Air Pacific, which has cancelled all Fiji domestic flights, has also delayed all inbound flights into Nadi from abroad.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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