Fijian army helping with flood clean-up

Buildings in the town of Nadi submerged in floodwaters. [ABC]
PHOTO

Buildings in the town of Nadi submerged in floodwaters. [ABC]

VIDEO from Australia Network News

Radio Australia's Bruce Hill on Fiji tourism concerns

Created: 04/04/2012

AUDIO from Pacific Beat

Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney reports

Created: 04/04/2012

AUDIO from Pacific Beat

Radio Australia journalist Bruce Hill reports from Fiji

Created: 04/04/2012

Campbell Cooney, Bruce Hill and staff

Last Updated: Wed, 4 Apr 2012 20:52:00 +1000

The Fijian army has teamed up with locals to help the recovery effort in areas affected by recent floods.

They are trying to remove mud and debris from damaged buildings.

Electricity workers are continuing to restore power across all areas of Viti Levu but it is likely to be next week before that job is complete.

The man in charge of the disaster recovery, Colonel Inia Seruiratu, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat the restoration of the country's essential services is the immediate focus.

"Water particularly, but for that we are dependent on accessibility and the department of national roads is doing their very best to restore access in the main areas; we have accessibility around Viti Levu but it's the inland routes that we are working on."

Affordable insurance


As the damage from the floods in Fiji is assessed, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program has suggested a way of providing cheap insurance for poor farmers.

Many of the people involved in agriculture in Fiji are unable to afford insurance, and will have to cope with the loss of their crops without compensation.

But the Program's Barry Maher has told Pacific Beat micro-insurance could be the answer.

"One way to keep that premium affordable for the farmer would be to have that payout just enough money to keep that farmer going for say three months of six months, just to get back on his feet," he said.

"So what you could do is, you could limit the payout in order to keep the premium affordable."

Health concerns


Meanwhile, authorities have sent three health assessment teams to flood stricken areas of Viti Levu.

One team will inspect the more than 150 evacuation centres throughout the island, a second will consider food issues, and the third will control disinfection and disease investigation.

Fiji's interim Government is concerned about what might happen now with the clean up, as the pools of stagnant water across the flood affected areas could cause health problems.

The interim government is also looking at conditions in the evacuation centres as some of them have become a bit crowded.

Radio Australia's Bruce Hill is currently in Fiji, he told Pacific Beat diseases such as typhoid, dengue, leptospirosis, malaria are also causing a concern.

"They have got an education and awareness program about that," he said.

"There are ads on TV about the importance of good habits, cleanliness, and awareness of what the symptoms are.

"They say that if there are any reports of people with any symptoms, they've got health officials that are trying to get out there and talk to people straight away."

Fiji's Government says while large parts of the country are still cleaning up after the floods and many people remain in evacuation centres, the country is open for tourists once again.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs advises Australians seeking information on the situation in Fiji to contact: smartraveller.gov.au or DFAT's 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1 300 555 135. Australians currently in Fiji should contact +61 2 6261 3305.

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