At least 3 dead after very heavy rains hit Fiji, severe weather continues into the weekend

At least 3 dead after very heavy rains hit Fiji, severe weather continues into the weekend

Very heavy rains hit parts of Fiji on March 19, 2020, causing floods and mudslides which resulted in at least 3 fatalities. Severe weather is forecast to continue into the weekend. With this, heavy rain and a flash flood warning are in force for most of the country.

Hundreds of residents were stranded in Nausori, Central Division, on the island of Viti Levu, where 223 mm (9 inches) of rain fell in a 24-hour period to March 19.

According to the Fiji Roads Authority, a number of roads were closed, particularly in the Central Western and Northern Divisions.

Damaging floods were also reported in Navua and capital Suva.

Heavy downpours triggered mudslides at a quarry in Mau, Namosi on Friday afternoon. The National Fire Authority and Police initially retrieved two bodies. Later on, the third body was also recovered.

The bodies were found in the rubbles of two trucks and a crushing machine. One person was injured, however, authorities have yet to disclose the survivor's condition.

"Four people were involved in the accident. Details of the incident are still sketchy as I'm still on my way to the site," said Vasiti Saoko, the director of the National Disaster Management Office.

"But I can confirm that of the four people, one has survived while three are dead," he added.

Furthermore, Soko said the severe weather is forecast to continue into the weekend. With this, heavy rain and a flash flood warning are in force for most of the country. The Fiji Meteorological Service explained that rains will continue for the next 48 hours due to a low-pressure system affecting the nation. 

The disaster management warned the public to notify authorities before attempting to clear any slips as more landslides may occur.

Featured image credit: Shalendra Ram

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