Salvation Army serves after Fiji floods

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With damage estimates already at $20 million, weather forecasters in Fiji predict more heavy rain and high winds for the island nation.

The Salvation Army has been providing shelter, food and clean water after severe weather caused floods and landslides in Fiji’s western districts last week. Six people—including a family of four—were killed, with villages and suburbs left under water. Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes.

A state of national disaster was declared in the urban areas of Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Sigatoka and Rakiraki. Flash flood warnings remain in place for low-lying areas, including Vanualevu and Taveuni. Work has begun to prevent the outbreak of typhoid after three people were admitted to Nadi Hospital with the disease.

The Salvation Army Nadi Corps hall was used as an excavation center, providing meals and shelter for 35 people. A recently installed water tank proved valuable in supplying water to the hall with the town supply out of action. The president of Fiji visited the center and donated much-needed supplies.

The hall and officers’ quarters in Ba were flooded to the lower levels of the buildings, and an engineering assessment is underway. Despite having their home flooded, the corps officers were able to shelter and support 26 people in the upper level of their home. Many of the soldiers and people who attend Ba are farmers, and most of their crops have been washed away.

The story is similar for those attending Saweni Corps, with many farmers losing their crops and livelihood. They now face the hardship that comes with trying to replant their crops.

The Salvation Army’s officers at Tavua assisted with welfare and support at a local high school that was acting as an excavation center.

Schools were due to start in Fiji the week of the flood. As a result of the floods, schools in the western district have been closed. Many families have received assistance from The Salvation Army in providing school fees and replacement stationery supplies ahead of school starting.

Divisional Commander Major Iliesa Cola said, “We thank God for the officers and soldiers of the west who have been ministering God’s love to those affected by the floods. May God continue to pour out his strength and wisdom upon them.” reports that about 55 per cent of export commodities, including crops and livestock, are estimated to have been damaged in the flooding. The cost of repairs has been estimated at $20 million.

Report from Major Brenda Luscombe (Suva, Fiji)

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