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At least six feared dead in Fiji storms

world Updated: Jan 11, 2009 13:01 IST

AFP
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At least six people were feared dead in Fiji today and hundreds were evacuated as severe storms brought widespread flooding to the Pacific island country.


Tourists in the popular resort area of Denarau Island were trapped after the only road to the airport was inundated, and people in low-lying areas were advised to move to higher ground as rivers burst their banks.


In the flood-ravaged towns of Nadi, Ba and Sigatoka police imposed a curfew to curb looting and ensure public safety after heavy rain and flooding over the past four days. "There is no power in the main town business district and other areas like Narewa Village where 15 to 20 houses are under water," Nadi mayor Timoci Koroiqica told the FijiLive website.


The mayor of Ba, Pravin Bala, said the town was under more than a metre of water at high tide. "Police are now monitoring movement in the town area and trying to restrict people from coming into town because one life has been lost already and we don't want that to be repeated," he said.


Fiji's National Disaster Management Centre reported at least 1,150 people had been evacuated from their homes. The Fiji Meteorological Service warned of further heavy rain and strong winds for the northern parts of the country but said conditions would gradually improve elsewhere. The Fiji Village website reported searchers had found the body of a 19-year-old youth and were still looking for two girls believed dead after being caught in a landslide. In Ba, a 31-year-old man died after he was washed away by strong currents while search were on for at least two others swept in the flood waters.