As Tropical Cyclone Gita begins to exit Fiji waters, Government’s focus is to complete damage assessments and respond to immediate needs in Southern Lau.
Director of the National Disaster Management Office, Mr. Anare Leweniqila indicated that the Office of the Divisional Commissioner Eastern would deploy teams aboard government vessels as soon as the weather permits.
“We have received initial reports from Turaga-ni-Koros indicating that housing and agriculture are the sectors with the most damages. We will deploy multi-sectoral assessment teams with immediate relief supplies to verify reports on the ground,” Mr. Leweniqila said.
“Currently, the Australian Defense Forces are facilitating an aerial survey on our behalf, and the data received will allow us to make concrete plans of response for the next 48 hours.”
As of 4pm today, preliminary reports received indicate that 26 homes were partially damaged and 10 have been fully destroyed in Southern Lau:
|No.||Village||Partly Damaged Houses||Completely Damaged Houses|
With regard to farms, some islands like Ono-i-Lau are more affected than others. There have been damages to vegetation and root crops in Ono-I-Lau and Vatoa which are the two Southern most islands. But in other islands, initial communications received indicate that there has been little or no damage to crops.
Active Evacuation Centers
As of 4pm, 288 evacuees were currently situated in 5 evacuation centers in Southern Lau. These figures are expected to drop as clearing and cleaning of debris continues in the affected areas. A breakdown of figures is tabled below:
|1||Ono Levu District School||4||15||20||39|
|2||Ono-i-Lau Nursing Station||1||7||8||16|
|3||Ono-i-Lau Post Office||5||7||12|
|4||Matokana Evacuation Center||1||20||62||83|
|5||Vatoa District School||13||21||104||138|
Mr. Leweniqila further mentioned that the preparedness of people in Lau and Fiji in general must be commended as no casualties or injuries have been reported so far.
“This indicates that we are putting into action lessons learned from past disasters like Tropical Cyclone Winston,” he said.